Chapter 1General Aspects

Economic, ecological, and technical aspects of plastic waste handling have been summarized in monographs (1–4).

Plastics have become an indispensable ingredient of human life. They are non-biodegradable polymers mostly containing carbon, hydrogen, and a few other elements such as chlorine, nitrogen, etc. Rapid growth of the world population has led to increased demand for commodity plastics (5).

The total plastics production in the world is shown in Table 1.1.

Table 1.1 Plastics production in the world (6).

Year
Mt
1950     1.5
1977   50
1989 100
2002 200
2009 250
2011 280
2015 322

A list of acronyms and initials used in the waste management industry has been published (7).

1.1 History of the Literature

The issue of recycling of plastics was not important for scientists before the 1970s. The amount of literature concerning plastics recycling is collected in Table 1.2.

Table 1.2 The literature with plastics recycling in the title of the papers found in Google Scholar in March 2018.

Time range
Number of references
1970–1975   
21
1976–1980   
25
1981–1985   
34
1986–1990
132
1991–1995
412
1996–2000
384
2001–2005
262
2006–2010
248
2011–2015
195
2016–2018   
65

As can be seen from Table 1.2, the boom started in the mid-1980s.

1.2 Amount of Wastes

The plastic wastes produced in the European Union in 2007 was about 52.5 Mt (8, 9). In 2008, 60 Mt were produced in Europe and the global production in 2008 was ...

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