Waste to Energy Development Center Consortium - Technology Transfer Labs

Plastic Pollution is a Global Problem

Plastic waste is one of the biggest issues facing the planet today, with its impacts stretching far and wide. It can be found polluting the tallest mountains to the deepest ocean trenches, and can affect human health, destroy ecosystems, and harm wildlife – especially marine species.

The problem has been aggravated in recent decades as the consumption of this versatile material has continued to rise. Global plastic production has doubled since the beginning of the century, to almost 495.75 million metric tons per year in 2019. While the lifespan of plastic products averages around 10 years, plastics can take up to 500 years to decompose, depending on their composition and disposal.

In accordance with analyses conducted by OECD, a significant proportion, specifically 49%, of the substantial global plastic waste generation amounting to 495.75 million tons annually, equivalent to 242.91 million metric tons per year, undergoes no recycling. Additionally, 22% of the annual total, corresponding to 109.06 million metric tons, is subject to mismanagement involving inappropriate technologies. (Source: OECD 2022) 

The European Union has prioritized managing the continent's ongoing energy crisis causing enormous economic problems. Based on the current economic environment of the energy industry, it is vital to find alternative and efficient solutions suitable for energy production in order to reduce the EU's energy dependence on oil and gas. This task requires the implementation of readily available alternative energy production technologies so that the member states reduce their energy dependence as soon as possible.

Another EU objective is to increase the recycling of plastic waste. According to the relevant Task Plans and Guidelines (Brussels, June 5, 2019), the recycling of plastics should reach 30-55% (depending on product groups) by 2030. (3)

(Source 3: Communication from the commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the committee of the regions a European Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy, document 52018dc0028, com/2018/028 final, {swd (2018) 16 final} - brussels, January 16, 2018,)


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