Published 2020-03-25

This post is also available in Swedish

Mistra to boost knowledge of plastic

This year alone, 400 million tonnes of plastic will be manufactured. Today, plastic-free living is almost impossible. This is one conclusion in ‘No one gets away from plastic’ — a new book from Mistra that shatters myths and highlights both the problems and the potential of the material.

The goal of Ingen kommer undan plasten – Vägar mot en mer hållbar plastanvändning (‘No one gets away from plastic: Paths to more sustainable use of plastic’) is to boost knowledge of plastic and demonstrate the material’s complex pros and cons for human beings and the environment. The book is based on the latest research, particularly from the Mistra STEPS and REES research programmes, but also Mistra Closing the Loop, Mistra Environmental Nanosafety and the discontinued Mistra Future Fashion programme.

Bioplastic from carbon dioxide

In the book, experts discuss plastic from several angles: from litter to clothing, food packaging to plastic reduction and bioplastics to recovery and recycling. Old axioms are questioned and new perspectives presented.

One topic raised is the problems posed by microplastics and their health risks to humans, animals and other organisms. The history of plastic in Sweden and how plastic packaging reduces food wastage are other aspects clarified in the book. Readers also get a glimpse into the future and the bioplastics research in progress — notably future-oriented polymer research on making bioplastic from carbon dioxide.

Plastic in a circular economy

Many experts agree that plastic is both a very good and a highly problematic material, and that if plastic is to have a role in the circular economy of the future, vigorous efforts are needed.

‘The number of different plastics must be reduced, products must be designed for reuse, recovery and recycling, and plastic should be used only where it’s really needed,’ says Mattias Lindahl, Programme Director of Mistra REES, in the book.

The book was commissioned by Mistra. Per Westergård is the editor, and the writers are Henrik Lundström, Thomas Heldmark and Per Westergård.

More about ‘No one gets away from plastic’ (the whole book, in Swedish, can be downloaded here).