The problem with plastic
Resolving this complex and increasingly sensitive issue will be challenging. The starting point to understanding the implications for natural resources and the environmental consequences of shifting away from plastics must be: if not plastic – what? And reviewing the entire supply chain is essential otherwise the issue of environmental impact will simply surface elsewhere.
Plastics are favoured by many because they are incredibly efficient and cost effective but finding alternative solutions for their many uses is going to be complicated, problematic and expensive requiring a commitment from the public, brand owners and governments. This will take time.
A circular plastics economy could lessen the impact of disposal while having minimal impact on chemical demand growth due to rising incomes, populations and living standards. It is important to note that waste management is a major problem, primarily in developing countries, and better management would go a long way in addressing plastics waste in the oceans and the negative public perception. So although the rate of growth (in percentage terms) will be lower than we've seen, it's still growth stemming from an ever expanding base so the volumes are quite sizeable.