Another problem is that plastic is mainly produced for short-lived disposable products such as packaging. These include polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP), polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polyurethane (PUR), polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and polystyrene (PS). This results in a rapidly growing amount of plastic waste. In recent years, only about one-third of plastics have been recycled. Unfortunately, a shockingly high proportion still ends up in the environment – about 32 percent annually, according to the World Economic Forum. The actual advantage of the material's longevity is becoming nature's undoing. Because plastics decompose so slowly, they will remain in the environment for up to hundreds of years and – largely in the form of microplastics – harm ecosystems with all their animals and plants.
Our planet can already be helped a great deal by the correct disposal and, in particular, recycling of plastics. The plastics industry has recognized its responsibility and is taking action: leading plastics manufacturers from Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and North and South America have joined forces in the "World Plastics Council" to fight global environmental pollution with innovative approaches. The Alliance to End Plastic Waste, an international non-governmental, non-profit organization, has also committed itself to this goal. In addition, around 75 organizations and industry associations from 40 countries have already signed the "Global Declaration" for solutions to preserve our aquatic systems. In it, the plastics industry is advancing solutions to marine litter in more than 350 projects.