The volume of plastics entering the environment is growing worldwide. Since existing regulations are not sufficient to curb the problem, the ever-increasing plastic production and use must be reduced. A systemic approach is needed that holds all actors responsible who produce, use, recycle, dispose and trade in plastic products and packaging.
Factsheet 2: Valuable waste plastic - Floating recycling plant recovers plastics before they enter the sea
In this factsheet, joint project KuWert shows how plastic recycling can be profitable. The research team developed a floating recycling platform, mobile and independent of local structures. The system was tested in coastal cities in West Africa, where a lot of plastic ends up in the sea.
The discussion about plastic waste is anything but new for German municipalities. In fact, as early as the 1980s, numerous German municipalities were experimenting with plastic waste prevention regulations and waste prevention in general. A further impetus for plastic waste prevention was provided in the early 1990s with the discussions on the introduction of a nationwide packaging ordinance.
Numerous one- to two-person households, an increase in mail-order business as well as the popular "to-go" culture are causing a steady rise in the consumption of plastic packaging in Germany. While approximately 1.8 million tons of plastic were produced per year in 2000, this figure had already risen to 3.1 million tons by 2016.
Packaging volumes are continuously increasing in Germany. Plastic packaging, with its short lifespan and low global recycling rates, contributes to the accumulation of macro and micro plastics in the environment. Merely switching to glass and cardboard packaging does not appear to be an appropriate solution, as LCA studies suggest.