The challenge of flexible plastics
To reduce carbon emissions from transport and reduce costs for consumers, packaging companies have turned to lightweight, flexible plastics for a wide range of products. Once they become waste, however, these low-value plastics pose a particular challenge.
With little or no market value, people who collect materials for recycling have no interest in collecting plastic film and pouches. It is labour-intensive, and with minimal reward. As a consequence, these film plastics can often be found polluting land where they pose a threat to livestock and agricultural soil, clogging drainage channels, sometimes reaching the ocean where they break up into small pieces and are mistaken by sea life for food.