Plastics1 are regarded by many as an essential part of our lives, in the 21st Century. Since their widespread introduction in the mid-1950s, the production and development of plastics has expanded dramatically, the number of applications has grown substantially, with plastics being utilised in construction, food and water provision, clothing, medicine, transport, electronics and household goods. Undoubtedly plastics have brought about a great many societal benefits, with greatest per capita use occurring in developed or large emerging economies.
Unfortunately the pace of adoption has not been matched by an appreciation of the social, economic and environmental damage being caused by improper disposal of unwanted or end-of-life plastics. Perhaps as a consequence, these costs have rarely been included in assessments of the ‘sustainability’ of plastics production and use. We have paid insufficient attention to preventing the unnecessary use and inappropriate disposal of unwanted and end-of life plastics, with the inevitable results that we now find plastic litter on every continent, in some of the most remote regions, and throughout the ocean.
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- Title: Exploring the potential for adopting alternative materials to reduce marine plastic litter
- Date: 21 Aug 2019