Packaging is the main sector that uses the most plastic and known for a lot of single-use plastics. Recorded in 2015, more than one-third of the plastic polymers produced in the year were used for packaging. That category also generated the most waste. Depending upon the region, packaging consumes 35 to 45 percent of the synthetic polymer produced in total, where the polyolefins dominate.
Polyolefins are dominant for a few reasons. However, these materials have serious downsides. They degrade painfully slowly, meaning that polyolefins will survive in the environment for decades to centuries. Meanwhile, wave and wind action mechanically abrades them, creating microparticles that can be ingested by fish and animals, making their way up the food chain toward us. Recycling polyolefins is also not as straightforward as one would like owing to collection and cleaning issues.
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