Plastic: blessing or curse?

‘Plastic soup’ is everywhere. Not only in physically, in oceans, seas and rivers, but also in the media. The Plastic Soup Foundation and many others are looking for solutions, but what exactly is the problem?

Very damaging
On five locations in our oceans, there are exceptionally high concentrations of large and small plastic particles. Especially the micro beads, which are sometimes added to shaving cream and cosmetics, are very harmful to the environment.

Good plastic
But the answer is not as straightforward as it may seem at first glance. There are also many “good” plastic applications such as plastic crates and pallets. These have, thanks to a return system, usually a lower environmental impact than their wooden or cardboard equivalents. These plastic applications are good for the environment.

And then there’s bioplastic; that crackling foil around magazines and vegetables, with the beautiful seedling logo. Bioplastic has intrinsically good qualities, but at the system level it scores in practice sometimes worse than plastic made from fossil fuels.

Wanna know why and how we can fully exploit the good properties of bioplastic? Read the latest column by Emiel Hanekamp in Environmental Magazine of April 2013.

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