Plastic and rubber product manufacturers in developing countries are presently confronted with a series of challenges. A large number of firms especially SMEs face among others, inherent issues such as inefficiency, high employees’ turnover, high levels of waste, poor flexibility, labour intensive operations, limited knowledge of digital initiatives and long production time. The root cause for these challenges could be highlighted is due to limited R&D investment on material design and process innovation based on a circular economy in the industry in the past 30 years.
Overview of Current Issues
Plastic and Rubber Industry - Polymer Industry Sustainability
To stay competitive, the industry has to look into methods and new approaches which involves the followings:
However, lack of inhouse R&D facility and expertise in these companies prohibit adoption of these technologies and approaches.
Several million tons of plastics are produced and used as packaging materials and consumer products every year with 50% of plastics being used for single use disposable applications such as packaging and only 20% and 25 % are for long–term infrastructure. If 50% of manufactured plastics are converted into disposable products, it means huge amount of waste are generated from plastics. Considering that energy is consumed during the production of plastics from virgin materials, this also means that huge amount of energy is also consumed. Packaging waste accounts for 37.2% of all plastics consumed worldwide. In light of growing concerns over environmental protection, resource conservation and the development of recovery technology, recycling has become a key factor in the supply chain. It has been receiving considerable attention due to its main environmental benefits which are acknowledged throughout the world and make it one of the most successful and cleanest waste-recovery processes.