How does plastic pollution combine with economy?
A world without plastic - is that even possible?
There is another problem with recycling plastic in general: many packaging contains plasticizers or dyes. In addition, they often consist not only of one polymer, i.e. one type of plastic, but of many thin layers of different types of plastic. “If you recycled that, you'd have a mixture with poorer properties. That is why most of this packaging is only thermally recycled, i.e. ultimately incinerated, ”says Carolin Völker.
Even if a lot still needs to change in the way we deal with plastic, it is important for Völker not to demonize plastic per se - regardless of whether it is bio-based or not: “You can also use a plastic bag for shopping, as long as you use it again and again . ” Because the environmental balance of paper bags or cloth bags is usually even worse. In contrast to a recycled plastic bag, you have to reuse a jute bag about 80 times to achieve a similar ecological balance. “Of course, metal or wood can also be used as substitutes, but they are not suitable for all applications. In addition, they are usually more expensive than plastic, ”says Siebert-Raths. The criterion of economic efficiency is also decisive, so that alternative materials are used by industry and ultimately also by consumers.
For Völker it is clear: “The alternative to plastic actually has to be a different lifestyle and not a different material. I think you can even combine environmental considerations and comfort, maybe just a few innovative ideas are missing. "
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