We continue to produce more and more plastic. In the EU, we use about 100 kg of plastic per person, per year. However, the objective of the EU is to increase recycling. By 2050, 80% of all plastic packaging materials are to be recyclable. Meanwhile, the oceans are turning into massive garbage dumps and the majority of all debris consists of plastic that we as individuals throw away. One of the most affected areas in Europe is the coastline of the Swedish county Bohuslän. The equivalent of up to five bathtubs filled with debris reaches the Swedish west coast every hour. We pollute our oceans with our products, but who is responsible for cleaning them up? A small plastic cup can take 100 years to decompose.
We do need plastic, however. It’s a durable, inexpensive material with virtually unlimited potential areas of application. The current production of plastic is based on fossil fuels, but what if we could use biological material instead and make the production completely eco-friendly?