The biggest environmental challenge of our time is to eliminate plastic pollution. Hundreds of brilliant minds in many countries around the world have been working for years to tackle this problem, but with little success so far. Recycling seems to be a viable option, but a really good and effective solution has not yet been developed. Recycling seems to be mostly an attempt to address the problem, not solve it.

"Of the 8 300 million tons produced between 1950 and 2015, around 6 300 million tons of plastic waste has accumulated so far including newly produced volumes - currently 2 500 million tons of plastic have been used since 1950. Of the 6 300 million tons, 800 million tons (12%) have been incinerated, which has contributed to air pollution and the greenhouse effect while only 600 million tons (9%) have been recycled. Out of the total plastic production, approximately 79%, equivalent to nearly 5 000 million tons, constitutes the vast global accumulation of waste. This substantial amount finds itself either buried in landfills or scattered across various natural environments, including our seas and oceans."(4) "To provide a meaningful comparison, we have conducted calculations to put this enormous quantity into perspective. The weight of 8.3 billion tons is equivalent to that of 821 782 Eiffel Towers, with each tower estimated to weigh around 10 100 tons. Furthermore, it corresponds to the weight of 22 739 Empire State Buildings, considering estimates that the building itself weighs approximately 365 000 tons."(5)

Despite plastic being the most prevalent material ever produced by humankind, there has been a notable absence of a comprehensive examination into its production and subsequent destiny after use. In order to bridge this significant gap, a collaboration between researchers from the University of California, Santa Barbara, the University of Georgia, and the Sea Education Association has culminated in the production of the first all-inclusive analysis. This analysis aims to consolidate the scattered data available to date. The research provides an estimation that a staggering total of 8.3 billion tons, or 8300 million tons of plastics were manufactured between 1950 and 2015. (6)  As an integral aspect of the Green Deal, achieving a recycling rate of 55% for plastic packaging waste by 2030 necessitates additional measures to facilitate the expansion of the recycled plastics market. In January 2023, the EU Parliament endorsed its stance on waste shipment regulations, aiming to foster reuse and recycling while mitigating pollution. Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) emphasize the need to prohibit the export of plastic waste to non-OECD countries and gradually phase out shipments to OECD countries within a span of four years. (7)

"Nevertheless, a considerable portion of plastic waste continues to be subjected to less sustainable methods, with 31% being landfilled and 39% being incinerated. Although landfilling has seen a decline over the past decade, the prevalence of incineration has risen. This situation is compounded by the alarming fact that approximately 95% of the value of plastic packaging, valued between €70B and €105B annually, is lost from the economy after a cycle."(9)  "According to estimates, the global production of plastics and the incineration of plastic waste result in the release of approximately 400 million tons of carbon dioxide annually. By promoting the increased utilization of recycled plastics, the reliance on fossil fuel extraction within the plastics industry can be diminished, consequently leading to a reduction in carbon emissions." (10)

(Source4, 5, 6: University of California, Santa Barbara and University of Georgia, as well the Sea Education Association. Source 7: https://, Source9: World Economic Forum, Ellen MacArthur Foundation and McKinsey & Company, The New Plastics Economy: Rethinking the future of plastics (2016), Source01:


From an environmental point of view, it is critical to deal with huge masses of synthetic materials and rubber waste that do not degrade even in several decades.

Only a small amount of these materials can be recycled. These waste materials are burned or deposited today.

Burning plastics is harmful because of toxic emissions.

Waste disposal is not only ineffective but also detrimental to everyone's health.

Both options are high investments with adverse consequences.


EPA - Plastics: Material-Specific Data

Source (2018): United States Environmental Protection Agency, American Chemistry Council


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.

It is also a European Union objective to increase the recycling of plastic waste. According to the relevant plans and provisions, must be achieved in the recycling of plastics by 2030.

A European Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy

Source: EUROPEAN COMMISSION Brussels, 16.1.2018. COM(2018)28 final