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What role will plastics play in the circular economy?

We are facing an epochal paradigm shift. It is now essential to make efficient use of the resources we have at our disposal, from the point of view of both financial and energy savings. The efficiency of businesses is closely tied to their sustainability. But what role do plastics have to play in this picture?


Download infographics reporting useful data and advices about sustainable plastic

We’ve been hearing a lot about the circular economy, renewable resources and reusing waste materials for a while now, but what is meant by all this?

First of all, it is important to provide a clear definition of what the circular economy means. It is a new production and consumption paradigm aimed at optimizing the use of natural resources and involving a greater awareness in the use of materials. The aim is to improve the efficiency of waste management through reprocessing and recycling existing materials and products.

By increasing the lifespan of manufactured products or of the key components of these products it is possible to exploit all the potential value of that product. This both makes the best use of the expenditure of the materials and economic resources invested in the production of new goods and reduces the CO2 emissions related to the production of new goods. It also helps to keep waste and scrap to a minimum.

In contrast to a linear economic approach, in which the trajectory of production, use and disposal is irreversible, the application of a circular economic economy paradigm allows us to exploit resources for as long as possible, ensuring that we extract every ‘drop’ of residual value during use and then, at a later date, recover and regenerate products and materials when they reach the end of their lifespan.

A natural consequence of this is the improvement of community levels of competition and efficiency in the use of resources. It is impossible to imagine plastics being excluded from this continuous cycle of use and revalorization, above all because of the important place that this occupies within our economy. Just think how the use of food packaging in plastic materials has contributed to reducing the perishability of food, or the increase in thermal efficiency resulting from the use of plastics as insulating materials in the construction market.

Precisely because this is a new paradigm, it is essential to rethink the entire economic and production chain, involving not only the manufacture and disposal of the product, but also the entire logistics sector. It is even revolutionizing the behaviour of consumers themselves, who are at the forefront in directing the strategic choices of market operators through their consumption preferences.

Considering the above, what clearly emerges is the important role that plastics will continue to play, although appropriate changes will need to be. This is specifically due to the technical and structural characteristics of the material, together with the wide range of demands that it satisfies.

Plastic is a “smart performance” material. It’s up to us to make sure it is used sustainably and has a lighter impact.


Plastica sostenibile - Scarica le infografiche Rifra







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