Towns, cities and even countries around the world have been regulating single-use or disposable non-biodegradable plastic bags to circulate or be used in their area. It is not merely for the sake of “sustainable unseeable future”, it is rather a necessary move from the authorities to, at least, provide a better and liveable environment for the present.
However, plastic has become a giant multi-billion dollar industry. There are manufacturers dedicated to producing plastic packaging. There are also more manufacturers who are not exactly part of the plastic industry, but automatically use plastic such as… well, almost every product you see on the supermarket shelves.
Directly or not, plastics have counted for so many lives around the world. Not only the workers or businessmen who are hands-on involved in the plastics industry, but also the rest of other people who are impacted by the national economy. Because like it or not, plastics play a huge part in the industry.
Plastic was worth $1.1 trillion in 2016 and it is expected to reach $1.2 trillion by 2020, according to Plastics Product Manufacturing Global Market 2017 bt The Business Research Company. The biggest segment is plastic packaging materials, unlaminated film and sheet manufacturing which took up about 20% of the plastic manufacturing.
In Southeast Asia, plastic is counted as a booming industry with a high rate of consumption across the region. The emerging busy and fast-paced lifestyles are driving the instant, go-to, disposable products which relies heavily on plastic packagings. Southeast Asia’s plastics market is expected to result in 5.5% of Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) between 2018-20123, according to Mordor Intelligence.
Aside from that, the building and construction industry is also on the rise among Southeast Asian mostly developing countries. Thus, there is a growing demand for plastic materials in this industry for plastics have unique features that are beneficial for building construction.
Plastics are effective insulation from cold and heat, prevent leakages, requires minimal maintenance and often dispensable. So, they are good material for roofing, glazing, road marking, hurricane panels and so much more.
If plastics need to be stopped for good, what will become of the giant industry? They surely could not simply vanish from the whole economic system, could they?
While most solutions are consumer-centric, there is also a need for a solution to this industry. Instead of getting rid of the industry, they should shift what they produce. From plastic to bioplastic (and other recyclable materials that can be used for packaging).
This is no longer just an idea. Companies across the world have been coming up with great products. From corn starch, cassava, to seaweed. As part of our community, an Indonesian based company of Evoware is producing an alternative food packaging from seaweed. Read more about the environmentally conscious company here.
Unfortunately, as promising as it sounds, such alternatives are still produced in small quantities. The cost of the production is currently still higher than traditional, non-biodegradable (and environment-littering) plastic. It is still challenging to break the long-established plastic production and there is only one way around it: support.