How can plastics be more sustainable?

Submitted by Imogen Allan on 14 April 2021

Thanks to their versatility, plastics have become key materials in strategic sectors such as packaging, building and construction, transportation, renewable energy, medical devices, and even sport products.

There are about 60,000 European companies in the plastics industry, mainly SMEs, employing over 1.5 million people and generating a turnover close to €350 billion. The way plastics are currently made, used and discarded fails to capture the economic, environmental, and societal benefits of a more ‘sustainable’ approach.

Europe produces 25 million tonnes of plastic waste annually; less than 30% of this is recycled. Plastic degradation may release hazardous chemicals and is the main source of microplastics.


The Publications Office of the European Union has created a ‘Sustainable-by-Design’ concept that covers the opportunities and challenges, innovation potential, and funding available to support the manufacturing of sustainable plastics and transition to a circular economy.

Take a look at the publication here.

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