Rising to the challenge of the world’s plastic bottle crisis

In the 1950s, the world started a love affair with plastic. It is one that has grown over the decades, but it has also become somewhat toxic. From the perspective of a salesman, things couldn’t look better. Every second, 20,000 people around the world buy a drink in a plastic bottle. That amounts to a million bottles every minute. It’s an industry that generates more than $250 billion per year, and by 2021, that number will have risen to $350 billion.

There’s nothing new about the popularity of soft drinks, but it is consumption of bottled water that has really seen a major increase across the globe. In the US, it has been fueled to a large extent by concerns brought about by the Flint crisis and similar high-profile municipal contamination scandals, while in Asia, consumption of bottled water is going through the roof, but more for lifestyle reasons. Here, it is seen as a sign of westernized freedom, and younger generations across China and South East Asia just can’t get enough of it.

Counting the environmental cost

We’ve all seen the shocking images of bottles filling the world’s oceans. No corner of the globe has escaped their impact. Of the 200 billion bottles of water consumed every year, more than three quarters are still being sent directly to landfill at present, while a further 20 billion end up polluting the ocean. It is a scandalous situation, and a horrendous legacy to leave for future generations. But there are things we can do.

Rising to the challenge

At Euroby, we take pride in being at the heart of the push towards more effective recycling. Centrifuges play a vital role in the separation of plastics during the recycling purpose. We supply and provide maintenance services for the Sorticanter®, a device developed by Flottweg that is used in recycling centres to separate out different types of plastic waste on the basis of their different densities.

We all know the importance of recycling to make the world a better place for future generations, but the commercial reality is that businesses will be more willing to invest in it if they see a financial return. When it comes to plastics, purity of grades is absolutely core to this. The Sorticanter® separates out the different grades quickly, efficiently and cost-effectively. When sorted in this way, they also come out with significantly higher dryness than other methods can achieve.

We all have a role to play

The numbers we looked at earlier, when taken in combination with those terrible images you see on the news, make it clear that plastic bottles can present a real ecological risk – in fact some campaigners say our use of plastic could be as serious a challenge as climate change.

The good news is that we have the technology to do something about the problem, and public awareness of the need to recycle is higher than it has ever been. It’s a process that Euroby is pleased to be a part of.