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WEF puts spotlight on plastics

More R&D is needed to show how plastics impact economies and societies and come up with better solutions for use, the World Economic Forum has said.

The WEF report The New Plastics Economy: Rethinking the future of plastics was published on 19 January. The use of plastic has increased twentyfold in the past 50 years, a figure expected to double again in the next 20 years, the report says. However, after a short use about 95 per cent of plastic packaging value is lost from the economy, costing an estimated $80 billion to $120bn a year.

As a result, a “concerted, global, systemic and collaborative initiative" to achieve better environmental and economic outcomes is needed, the report states. This should bring together leading academics, innovators and businesses to define “moon shot” innovations, that could have a significant impact at scale. These could include the development of bio-benign materials; chemical marking technologies; and chemical recycling technologies, it suggests.

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