In May 2018, the UK launched a plastic innovation hub along with other Commonwealth countries. The UK will play a leading role in the designing and the implication of the framework that this hub will use.
The Issue with Single-Use Plastics
You have probably seen the issue that the world is facing in the News or read about it in an article because the story is everywhere at the moment and for a good reason. The issue is the plastic waste that is polluting the world’s oceans and the marine life within these waters.
The pollution levels in the ocean are already at a high level, and the majority of this is caused by plastic waste; without intervention, this level of pollution is set to treble in the next ten years. This is why the UK and Commonwealth countries are taking the step forward with the innovation hub.
However, we aren’t talking all plastics; we’re talking about the single-use plastics for the most part – the items like straws, plastic packaging or carrier bags. This is the waste being disposed of in the oceans as opposed to large plastic pipes or the plastics used in construction.
It is vital that we find a solution for what could be an epidemic of plastic waste in the oceans not only for the environment but also for the future of more sustainable plastics. The oceans provide us with vital medicines, minerals and a source of energy.
The Goal of the Hub
The Plastic Innovation Hub is bringing together experts from both the scientific and technical field for their studies and research. The Hub is not only backed by the UK and other Commonwealth countries but also has the financial backing of high profile companies like Waitrose.
The research that will be commencing in the hub will be working towards finding a sustainable alternative for plastics or working towards a sustainable future of the existing material. The main goal is to stop plastics from entering and polluting our oceans.
The work is going to help the UK lead the way to clean growth for the future and hopefully allow other countries to follow in our footsteps.
The research is being backed by the British Plastics Federation who are supporting the hub by supplying research materials and facilities for the project.
What Does This Mean For All Plastics
We have already seen a major shift in the UK’s view on single-use plastics with the plastic bag charge, then the reduction in plastic straws and now the ban on wet wipes. It is clear that the main focus of this research and the cause for concern is the single-use plastic market.
The goal of the hub is not necessarily to stop the use of all plastics; it is working to fight the pollution of our oceans. Plastics used in industries such as construction are not at risk at present as they are much more durable pieces of material and have a valuable purpose in the UK industries.
The plastics used in industries such as construction are easily recycled and reused again for pipes or similar objects, whereas, it is not possible for plastics such as plastic bags or wrappings to be reprocessed.
A lot is changing in the world of plastics, and hopefully, it will help to change some of the negative views on this extremely useful and valuable material.