Plastic waste as a resource. Strategies for reduction and utilization of plastic waste
Tutor / director / evaluatorLambert, A.J.D.
Document typeMaster thesis (pre-Bologna period)
Rights accessRestricted access - author's decision
Plastic materials have experienced a spectacular rate of growth in recent decades, consequently, production of plastics, and likewise their consumption, has increased markedly since 1950. Moreover, they are lightweight and durable, as well as can be moulded into a variety of products that can be manufactured in many different types of plastic and in a wide range of applications. Inevitably, continually increasing amounts of used plastic are originating daily, resulting in a plastic waste problem. The final objective of this research is to achieve a good overview of currently plastic waste situation in order to propose several improvement strategies for favouring the reduction and utilization of this type of waste. Definitely, contribute to sustainable development and protection of natural resources through proposals of recovery and reduction of plastic waste disposed in landfills. In order to improve the reduction and recovery rates of plastic waste, it is important to implement the 4Rs strategy in waste management, or waste hierarchy, a sequence of actions in the order of decreasing environmental desirability, including reduce, reuse, recycle materials and recover energy, with prevention as the most favoured option and disposal in a landfill as the least desirable management strategy. For this reason, many measures in order to reduce the volume of plastic waste generation are proposed, that is, actions to be implemented before product end-of-life, during pre-consumption and consumption. Finally, some proposals to increase the utilization of recovered plastic and to improve plastic waste treatments are proposed, that is, actions to be implemented after product end-of-life or post-consumption. In addition to this, current applications of recycled plastic waste and future research are reported.