Plastic, first invented as a replacement for natural materials, has become an integral part of our daily lives. It has important properties including toughness, a wide range of functionality for consumers, and affordability. However, a plastic waste crisis is unfolding around the world due to inadequate and inefficient plastic segregation and disposal systems.
As a result, there is less focus on the practical benefits of plastic, which include:
1. Serving as a substitute for natural materials such as paper, which reduces deforestation.
2. Easily molded and tailored for many different uses, and superior to most natural materials in terms of durability, functionality, and longevity.
3. Can be reused, recycled, and upcycled into value-added products including clothing, bags, and many other items through initiatives such as the “Upcycling the Oceans, Thailand” project.
4. Helps to significantly preserve the freshness of food and reduce food waste.
5. More lightweight than other materials such as glass, so it reduces fuel consumption during transportation.
6. Pound for pound, requires about 91% less energy to recycle compared to paper.
7. Improves our quality of life. For example, in the medical field, plastics are used to make prosthetics for breast cancer patients and colostomy bags for colon cancer patients. Plastics are also used to make fish aggregating devices that become marine habitats, as well as floating buoys that encircle and protect marine conservation areas.
Plastics are not the villain they are sometimes made out to be. However, it is important to change the way we think about and look at plastics. They are a valuable resource offering tremendous benefits that enhance our living standards, but a resource that we must use wisely and responsibly. Every one of us must change our mindset towards the more efficient use of plastics, not just to improve how we live, but to make our world a better and cleaner place.
GC is committed to promoting the responsible use of plastics and maximizing its benefits in line with the concept of the circular economy.
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