The Plastics Paradox
Plastic is one of the most commonly used materials in the world, but with only 12% of all plastic waste recycled, efforts to limit its environmental impact and find alternatives have increased. “Plastics are extremely durable and versatile…however, one of plastic’s greatest strengths has become its greatest weakness—it is not degradable,” explains Nikhil Bhandari of Goldman Sachs Research. “This is what we call the plastics paradox.” Already, some countries and regions have started to restrict single-use plastics like shopping bags and drinking straws, while major plastic consumers such as the beverage industry are exploring alternative packaging made from degradable materials like corn. As consumer perception continues to shift and we see higher recycling rates and government regulation, Goldman Sachs Research believes plastic demand growth could slow by 0.6% a year over the next decade.