Plastic, a light, economical and durable material, which is easily molded, is a valuable conquest of man and an opportunity for the future. If the 20th century was the century of plastic, the 21st is the century of recycling and the regeneration of raw materials, with plastic once again at the center of attention, since it has a long life and the possibility of being recycled and reused – as long as, with eyes on the future of the planet, we all develop environmental awareness and a culture of avoiding pollution.
Plastic is a material that has effectively contributed to the improvement of the daily life of billions of people on the planet, offering a significant advantage over other materials: keeping food fresh and unaltered for a longer period of time, prioritizing the protection of people and their health - a fact proven also by the recent health crisis, where plastic emerged as the most reliable and affordable solution for personal protection.
With the depletion of natural resources, the linear production model, on which the economy is based today, is no longer sustainable. The adoption of the circular economy, which embodies the dream of an ideal economy, exemplified by nature in which nothing is lost, is an imperative nowadays and can be an accelerator of sustainable development, with significant environmental benefits at the same time. As the European Commission has acknowledged, the role of the plastics industry in the adoption of the circular economy, where the use of resources and the production of waste is minimized, through the long-term design of new, innovative and sustainable products for maintenance, reuse and recycling, is an important and common goal for all industries, not only in Europe but also globally.
Less energy-intensive in their production, with an advantage in terms of weight and less polluting than other materials - such as paper and metal - and at a time when the effects of the environmental crisis are already felt, the production and use of plastic, fully recyclable packaging, which consists of a single material so that it can be recycled in their entirety, in everyday life has a number of benefits for the environment. Among these are the reduction, compared to other materials, of greenhouse gas emissions, therefore a lower carbon footprint and the reduction of waste and use of fossil resources, thus the saving of significant amounts of energy.
A series of actions by the plastics industry today, aiming at a better future, are the use of recycled raw material, the reduction of the use of packaging, the utilization of production residues to an optimal extent and the reduction of waste disposal in landfills. However, the goal of the entire society, with the participation of the industry, the state and the citizens, must be the promotion and adoption of circular economy: plastics with a longer lifespan or multiple uses, collection, recycling and utilization of recycled materials. It is only this way that we can derive all the advantages of this special material, without burdening the environment.