Since its invention, plastics have been widely used because of their light weight, good performance, and durability, bringing great convenience to people’s lives. In 2006, the world’s plastic consumption exceeded 2 billion tons, while China was about 40 million tons, of which plastic packaging materials developed rapidly.
Plastic packaging materials account for 10% to 20% of domestic waste and are actually “permanent” and cannot be degraded. How to deal with plastic waste has become an environmental problem worldwide. In addition, resource shortages and environmental conditions have become more and more serious in recent years. How to reduce dependence on petroleum resources, implement a circular economy, and maintain sustainable development has become a hot issue in the globalization of the plastics industry.
Extensive use of plastic not only consumes a lot of oil and energy, but also releases a lot of carbon dioxide when burned because of its non-degradation, which will cause and aggravate “white pollution” and “greenhouse effect.” In some areas; in order to purify the surrounding environment and eliminate plastic waste, people have worked hard to reduce pollution by doing the following:
First, sanitary garbage landfills (burying garbage in the soil); second, waste utilization. Although sanitary landfills can significantly reduce environmental pollution, the important task of ensuring environmental protection has been pushed to the next generation. Waste utilization is a feasible method. Recycling refers to the recycling of plastic from garbage, and then sorting, washing, drying and crushing the plastic into products.
Although it consumes a certain amount of manpower and material resources, it can improve the environment to a certain extent. However, people cannot help asking, how many times can these plastic materials be recycled and processed? What should I do if it cannot be recycled one day? Many experts suggest that a large number of plastics that can be naturally degraded, recycled and are harmless to nature and biology should be developed and produced. This is the fundamental method to solve the problem of “plastic waste”.
Compared with the development of plastics in the 21st century, which focuses on performance and convenience, the development of the 21st century will focus on global sustainable development and other higher-level considerations. Advances in science and technology have made this development possible. In order to realize a sustainable low-carbon recycling society, the development of highly anticipated environmentally friendly plastics has attracted unprecedented attention.
The development of natural degradable plastic products to replace ordinary plastic products has become a hot spot in the 1990s, but at that time, due to cost and technical problems, the development of degradable plastics was slow. In recent years, with the advancement of raw material production and product processing technology, degradable plastics, especially biodegradable plastics, have received widespread attention and become a bright spot for sustainable development and circular economy.
Whether it is from energy substitution, reducing carbon dioxide emissions, or solving the problems of agriculture, rural areas and farmers from the perspective of environmental protection, the development of biodegradable plastics and bio-based plastics is necessary and important.