Plastic Opens Up New Business Opportunities

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The EU’s “straw ban”, meaning the directive restricting the amount of plastic waste, is a hot topic which M-Brain’s experts have followed closely. It is connected to the worry about plastic waste in the world’s oceans. According to some estimates, the oceans have over 5 trillion pieces of plastic. Around 5-13 million tonnes of plastic is estimated to end up in the oceans yearly. 85 per cent of the trash washed up on EU’s shores is plastic waste.

Restrictions mean new opportunities 

The sale of disposable plastic products will be banned in the EU if it is possible to make the product from alternative materials. The list of banned products includes disposable plates, cutlery, straws, plastic bags and cotton buds. The ban is set to come into effect in the EU in 2021. (Read more)

The EU “straw ban” not only restricts the production and sale of products which currently are common. It also opens up new business opportunities. The company Kotkamills, for instance, has marketed its plastic-free cardboard for cups since the summer of 2018. 

We live in a fascinating time of material innovations. New materials combine features of plastics and fibre products, for example, changing the simplistic, traditional idea of materials that can be easily distinguished from each other. 

At the same time, demands regarding the recyclability of materials are increasing. For instance  Paptic is developing a plastic-like paper material and aims to be the “Gore-Tex of the packaging world”. 

The Power of Attitude Shifts in the Puzzle of Globalisation 

The proliferation of global networks ieglobalization is a known fact. As is also known, globalization has pros and cons. It has wide spectrum effects on politics, economics, international trade, culture, traffic, tourism and environment. 

In the Davos economic forum on January 22 it was argued that the 4.0 version of globalization needs to be more human-centred, comprehensive and sustainable. Young entrepreneurs and decision-makers need to bring a genuine attitude shift to the development of globalization and we all need to listen to young people. 

It is predicted that Generation Z (those born after the mid-90s and in the early 2000s) will be more passive and follow norms more eagerly than previous generations, even though electronics and data networks have been easily available since their birth. In other words, they are passive individualists who respect the hierarchy of norms in society. In addition to norms, Generation Z might include social entrepreneurship as part of their values. 

A social enterprise is a company that functions in the market but at the same time has socially determined targets for the distribution of profits. The concept is gaining traction from the US to Europe. The future looks bright, then: the development of legislation and social entrepreneurship guide the value choices of future consumers. 

Also the EU commission’s “straw ban” is the implementation of a major attitude shift. Plastic waste that is harmful to the environment, especially waste that affects the seas and their eco systems, is the product of a culture of conspicuous consumption. Each of us can have an effect on consumption that is harmful to the environment with our choices, but the “straw ban” directs consumption towards material choices that are less harmful to the environment. 

M-Brain Strives to Do Responsible Business 

M-Brain wants to be part of the effort of bringing more responsible choices to business in partnership with companies, consumers and other stakeholders. M-Brain wants to support high quality knowledge management which in turn enables new innovation in circulation economy, sustainable development and material efficiency. 

Plastics are a part of many companies’ business eco system. We at M-Brain constantly identify and measure business opportunities regarding plastics. We can help you navigate the news and research concerning plastics. We could start by picking out for you the news about plastics that interest you the most. If you want to know more, please contact M-Brain’s SVP Market Intelligence Sonja Martkainen. 

Did you know that the EU’s parliament, commission and council agreed in December 2018 to recycle 65% of packaging by 2025 and 70% by 2030?  Additionally, the recycling of plastic packaging must be increased to 55% by 2030. 

Written by:
Sonja Martikainen, SVP Market Intelligence
Soile Mäkinen, Strategic Analysis Consultant
Pirjo Viinamäki, Senior Analyst 

The white paper regarding plastics written by M-Brain’s experts is available here. 

Sources and addition information:
http: // (45742) / en-EN / Envelope / Circular economy

Photo: Shutterstock 

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