Plastic waste in Europe has been a growing concern in recent years. The region generates a significant amount of plastic waste, and its improper disposal and management have adverse environmental and health impacts.Europe is one of the major contributors to plastic waste globally. The region produces millions of tons of plastic waste each year, primarily from packaging materials, single-use items, and household products.
The packaging sector is a major contributor to plastic waste in Europe. The increasing consumption of packaged goods, both in households and industries, leads to a significant amount of plastic packaging waste.Single- use plastics, including items like plastic bags, disposable cups, and food packaging, also contribute significantly to plastic waste production in Europe. These items are typically used for a short time and then discarded.
In 2020, each person living in the EU generated 34.6 kg of plastic packaging waste on average. Out of these, only 13.0 kg were recycled. Europe has made efforts to increase plastic recycling rates. However, the recycling rates for plastic waste vary across countries. Some European nations have more advanced recycling infrastructure and higher recycling rates compared to others.The availability and effectiveness of waste management infrastructure play a crucial role in managing plastic waste. Countries with well-developed waste management systems, including Kg per capita recycling facilities and waste-to-energy plants, tend to have better control over plastic waste.
According to estimates, the EU recycled 41% of its plastic packaging waste in 2019. More than half of the plastic packaging waste produced was recycled in nine EU Member States: Lithuania (70%), Czechia (61%), Bulgaria (59%, 2018 data), the Netherlands (57%), Sweden and Slovakia (both 53%), Spain (52%), Cyprus (51%) and Slovenia (50%). In contrast, Malta (11%, 2018 data), France (27%, Ireland, Austria, Poland, and Hungary (33%), all recycled less than one-third of their plastic packaging waste.
Problems with plastic recycling
The recycled plastics are more harmful to the environment than the virgin products due to the mixing of additives, colours, stabilizers, halogenated flame retardants, and so on. There is a considerable controversy about the extent to which these additives are released and their adverse effects on the environment. The central issues are the types and quantities of additives present in plastics for the uptake and accumulation in living organisms. Some plastics have fibres which shorten every time it is recycled. Thus, a plastic can be recycled 7–9 times before it is no longer recyclable. A few polymers can only be recycled 1–2 times before they are down cycled into lesser-value products. The items that are downcycled (such as clothing, fleece, or even lumber) usually cannot be recycled and may eventually end up in a landfill.
Plastic waste treatment in Europe
The most common approach for getting rid of plastic waste in Europe is incineration, which is followed by landfilling. 14% of all plastic garbage produced is recycled.
In order to be recycled, half of the plastic waste collected is transported to nations outside the EU for processing. The inability to treat the waste locally due to a lack of capacity, technology, or financial resources. 32.7 million tonnes of trash were exported from the EU to non-EU nations in 2020. The majority of waste, which primarily goes to Turkey, India, and Egypt, is composed of ferrous and nonferrous metal scrap as well as paper, plastic, textile, and glass waste.
Since 90% of the plastic waste end up in the landfill and ocean, Biodegradable Future have developed additives which will boost the biodegradability of any plastic goods without compromising the physical characteristics and will not negatively impact the recycling process if it ends up in a landfill, ocean or soil, it will naturally biodegrade.
Biodegradable Future aids businesses and manufacturers overcome the difficulties they currently face. The additive is made to prevent the plastic from degrading until it comes into touch with bacteria, ensuring that the plastic keeps its strength. Thus, there are no unpleasant shocks when using polymers that have undergone additive treatment; they maintain the same strength as other plastics.
The additives will work on all plastic items, including single-use shopping bags and custom-engineered durable parts. Additionally, Biodegradable Future provides a thorough consultation on the requirements in order to ascertain and validate whether how one can use this product in their enterprise.
The high expense of switching away from plastic in manufacturing and packaging is one of the reasons businesses are hesitant to do so.The affordable additives are more reasonable than the majority of plastic substitutes, keeping the prices down.Biodegradable Future additives have been shown to biodegrade plastic much faster than natural techniques in tests utilising the ASTM D5511 standard.