Design Competition: Scenario no. 3
Sustainable uses of plastics waste
- Waste materials are valuable resources. Currently in Europe huge quantities of waste are being buried in landfill sites without making the most of their energy potential.
- Recycling is one important way to make valuable use of waste materials. However there are other important uses, such as re-using them or using them as an energy source, since plastics are solidified oil and therefore a valuable resource.
- This is particularly true for the plastics family of materials. There are many different types of plastics, and their different properties means that end-of-life plastics can be used in many different ways.
Identify the most environmentally-beneficial uses for different types of end-of-life plastics.
Questions to consider
- What is the environmental impact of landfilling plastics waste? What volume of CO2 emissions could be saved by recycling that waste? Or by using it as fuel?
- What proportion of waste is recycled vs. used as energy in your country? What is the situation across Europe as a whole?
- What types of plastic waste can you identify (food packaging, beverage bottles, insulation, car components etc.)?
- What types of waste plastics are most frequently recycled?
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