Global Plastics: A Case Study

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Plastic is a material consisting of organics that may be synthetic or semi synthetic and are malleable so can be molded into solid objects of different shapes. The organics are polymers of high molecular mas although they sometimes contain other substances.. In most cases, plastics are synthetic and are commonly derived from petrochemicals though some are partially natural depending on intended usage. (American Chemistry Council).
The plastics industry is one of the fastest growing industries in the world with global plastic production reaching 285 Million tonnes in 2014 (Kellen, 2014). Each country contributes differently to the global plastic production with the Asian continent being the largest contributor at 44.6% (Kellen, 2014). The major contributor to the Asian share is China, the world’s largest producer with 57.6 Mt in 2012 (Kellen, 2014). Fig.1: Global plastic production from 1950-2014, excluding PET, PA and polyacrylfibres Source: (Kellen, 2014)
Figure 2 shows the contribution per region in Million tonnes with Asia having the highest quantity followed by Europe and North America.

Fig.2: Plastic production per region in Million tonnes
Source: (Kellen,2014)

1.2. Common types of plastics and their uses:
There are seven major types of plastics:
i) Polyethylene Terephthalate abbreviated as PET or PETE is a clear and tough plastic
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In snack food packages and cereal box liners, HDPE is used in form of a film. It is sometimes used for milk and non-carbonated beverage bottles in form of a blow-molded bottle. It is also used for margarine packaging, whipped toppings and deli foods packaging. Its good chemical resistance makes it preferred as a packaging material for household and industrial chemicals such as detergents, bleach and
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