Plastics have become a fundamental part of the packaging world. There is a broad spectrum of applications for polymers. In addition, they have a low weight, long shelf-life and can also be used in sensitive application areas like the food or pharmaceutical industry.
Therefore it comes as no surprise that plastics are used en masse in packaging. According to information by the German association IK - Industrievereinigung Kunststoffverpackungen e.V., in 2021 in Germany alone, more than four million tons of plastic were produced for packaging – whether for wraps, bottles, closures, bags or pallets. This means that production increased by 1.5 percent compared to the previous year.
But this blessing also has a darker side. Plastics, and this also applies to packaging made thereof, are said to be harmful to the environment. One the one hand, the industry has made lots of progress regarding recycling and circular economy. On the other, there is one factor that remains unchangeable, regardless of reusability: New plastics are usually made from oil, and therefore from a finite resource.