We had the opportunity to attend the 2018 National Plastic Exposition. During that week at NPE, a variety of issues and innovations were discussed between various companies. One of the largest topics that was focused on during the exposition was, understandably, sustainability. As the issue of our plastic pollution problem becomes more and more relevant, it is important that steps are taken to reduce it as much as possible.
Let’s Take a Look at the Numbers
How bad has our plastic problem become? Here are 10 facts according to the world’s largest environmental movement, The Earth Day Network:
- 500 million plastic straws are used every day in the U.S., which is enough to circle the Earth twice
- Nearly two million single-use plastic bags are distributed worldwide every minute
- 91% of plastic waste isn’t recycled
- The amount of plastic produced yearly is roughly the same amount of weight of humanity, with 9.1 billion U.S. tons having been produced since first introduced
- Every piece of plastic ever made still exists in some form
- The amount of microplastic in the ocean is greater than the number of stars in the Milky Way
- Eight million metric tons of plastic end up in the ocean yearly
- One million plastic bottles are bought every minute, with less than half of those bottles ending up recycled
- 100 billion plastic bags are used by Americans every year
- If nothing is done to stop our plastic pollution rates, then the amount of plastic pollution will outweigh fish pound for pound by 2050
Those numbers are extremely concerning to people around the world. In an attempt to educate companies on taking steps to do their part in eradicating this problem, the Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS) decided to help fund a program that measures the availability of recycling in the U.S.
The Sustainable Packaging Coalition was able to show that:
- Of those in the United States living in a community with a population of more than 125,000, 94% of those citizens have recycling programs available to them
- 92% of the United States population has access to PET plastic bottle recycling
With this data, plastics industry companies are now able to focus their efforts on where access to recycling needs to be expanded.
Plastics Industry Association
The Plastics Industry Association, better known as PLASTICS, was present at NPE2018, expressing its mission of supporting the entire plastic supply chain. PLASTICS provides advocacy, education, resources and ways to promote sustainability to all of its members.
PLASTICS knows that the first step to understanding the great lengths of our plastic pollution problem is that we must become educated. PLASTICS therefore educates plastic manufacturers on how to:
- Engage employees through different environmental efforts
- Avoid landfill costs
- Generate revenue by recycling
- Divert up to 90% of total waste away from landfills
Plastic manufacturers are able to learn key concepts through PLASTICS’s Zero Waste Program. With a partnership between companies and PLASTICS, sustainability goals are able to be achieved by:
- Promoting the use of recycled plastics in new product lines
- Providing information on how companies can make their products easier for consumers to recycle effectively
- Offering companies incentives to eliminate waste and increase the amount they recycle
At NPE 2018, we had the chance to hear about some of the latest innovations in the plastics industry.
- Plastic Packaging – With new innovations in plastic packaging for a variety of products, companies now have a more competitive edge and are able to reduce waste while lowering their overall costs.
- Bioplastic – More innovations are coming to light in terms of bioplastics. Some have engineered ways to make certain bioplastics edible, while others have utilized other materials like rice to make a more sustainable method for the creation of bioplastics.
Outside of NPE 2018, numerous companies are producing innovations that will affect millions of people in many positive ways.
- Plastic Shoes – Adidas has recently teamed up with Parley to design shoes made out of plastic pollution found in the ocean. The shoes are available in a variety of colors and sizes.
- Plastic Roads – Companies around the globe have decided to use plastic waste as a substitute for cement on roads. By paving roadways with plastic, not only can the amount of plastic waste be reduced, but communities can greatly benefit as well.
To find out more about the outstanding plastic innovations being implemented all around the world, visit our blog post “7 Innovations Happening in the Plastics Industry Right Now.”
How Shini USA Can Help
At Shini USA, we offer a diverse line of plastic granulators and recycling equipment that can help your company in a variety of applications. We are dedicated to providing customers with top-tier equipment that is guaranteed to meet your specific demands and needs.
Let Shini USA products be with you every step of the way. Contact our team today to find out more!