Why Must Plastic Be Recycled for a Sustainable Economy?

From homes to hospitals, plastics are an integral part of human life. Plastic objects are often durable enough and a lot cost-effective than those made of metal and wood, which is why their usage for almost everything is rapidly increasing day by day. While the material is versatile and convenient, it also has a sinister side. It takes an eternity to decompose, while certain types of plastics don’t decompose at all, which is leading to mounting waste and pollution.

Due to the dangers of abandoned plastic to the soil and wildlife and the emission of harmful gases from its burning, the focus on reprocessing discarded plastic objects and reusing the material thus obtained is rising. P&S Intelligence says that owing to the rising awareness about plastic pollution, the plastic recycling market will grow from $41,238.8 million in 2018 to $64,139.7 million by 2024, witnessing an 8.6% CAGR during 2019–2024. The process involves segregating the different types of plastic waste and then washing, shredding, melting, and pelletizing it.

The different types of plastics are polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), polystyrene (PS), and various others. Among these, PE has been recycled the most, because it is one of the most-heavily produced plastic. Moreover, PE products don’t have a long life, which is why they are discarded after a short usage duration, thereby leading to a high waste volume. On a positive side, PE is easy to recycle, therefore accounts for a high reprocessing and reuse rate.

Presently, Asia-Pacific (APAC) is the largest plastic recycling market, as it doesn’t only process its own waste, but also of the developed European and North American countries. The large population, which generates huge volumes of plastic waste, and the low labor costs are the key reasons behind the high-volume recycling here. Further, developed countries subject to stringent environment protection targets send most of their waste to the developing APAC countries.

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