Sources of plastic waste

Plastic waste is not biodegradable. That means they can stay in the soil or on the land surface for many years without breaking down. Plastic litter can end up in water bodies and in the oceans in a variety of ways.

Plastic waste and debris may come from poor waste disposal in municipal and tourist areas and illegal waste dumping from industry and construction sites. The waste ends up in waterways, stormwater runoff, and ends up in the seas.

Large-scale fishing and nautical activities also deposit lots of waste directly into the oceans, either intentionally or by accident. Broken fishing nets and other equipment of plastics float or sink to the ocean bed where they stay for many years.

Natural factors such as wind, UV, and currents can break down plastic into smaller bits. These are called microplastics (particles smaller than 5 mm) and even smaller particles also known as nanoplastics (particles smaller than 100 nm)

Approximately 36% of plastics are used for packaging, 16% for construction, 15% for textiles, 10% for consumer and institutional products, and the remaining 33% for the transportation of electronics and industrial products. Source1

Our research for this topic included these sources:

  1. Plastic Waste Recycling, Applications, and Future Prospects for a Sustainable Environment., Sustainability 2022, 14, 11637. su141811637