Plastics are not environmentally friendly because they come from petroleum.
The petroleum used in its manufacture is the residual byproduct of the refining process. In this way the manufacture of plastic is in itself a way to take advantage of resources that if not, it would have to be eliminated in some alternative way.
Plastics are more polluting than other materials.
If you look at the environmental impact of a recycled plastic bag, you have a better ecological impact than paper or cotton carrier bags.
Plastics are bad for the environment because they are not biodegradable and can not be destroyed.
Whether or not a material is biodegradable does not imply that it is good or bad for the environment. If a biodegradable material is properly managed, for example by recycling, it will generate environmental benefits by using waste as resources, creating new products made from recycled plastic. If a biodegradable material is left in the field and the proper biodegradation conditions are not present, it will be an environmental problem as the waste will not be removed. Responsible use of products and proper management of waste by citizens, companies and institutions is essential to ensure the least environmental impact.
The consumption of plastic is growing so much that we are ending up trapped in a mountain of plastics.
The consumption of plastic materials has continued to grow. But this growth can and must be sustainable and it is necessary that the industry continue to work both in the prevention, reuse and recovery of waste. The evolution in the recycling of plastic is tremendously positive with a growth of more than 50% in the last decade.
All the applications of the plastics are of a single use and generate many residues.
In Europe, the percentage of plastic materials in single-use applications is less than 40%.
Plastic containers consume more energy than with any other material.
Plastics help us to save energy. A plastic container can replace another material performing the same function with considerably less material per unit. The result is 55% lower energy consumption and 62% lower emissions compared to alternative materials. If plastics were replaced by alternative materials, on average three times as many resources would be required to produce the same number of units. And because of the higher weight, the transportation during the lifecycle of the container would consume more energy, increasing considerably to the emission of greenhouse gases.
Paper is greener than plastic.
Paper requires a lot of energy during its manufacture and much higher than that required in the manufacture of plastic. If transport is also taken into consideration, the comparison is even worse, because paper bags are heavier and their packaging is much less compact and takes up much more space. The result is that transport of the same number of units requires more resources to transport them, with a consequent adverse effect on the environment.
All plastics end up in the sea.
Plastic waste, like all other waste, must be treated properly and deposited in areas or containers intended for this purpose to be managed and recycled properly. When this does not happen, two problems occur: a loss of resources (the value of the waste is no longer recovered) and the landscape is damaged, affecting the flora and fauna. The most important task is environmental education, and prevention, and that is where countries should focus their efforts and resources.