In Spain, due to inefficient plastics management in the agro-industrial sector, 800 million euros are lost annually. 85% of the agri-food production is located in Almeria. For this reason, the company Almerience Byproductplace has invited us to look for solutions that revalue the plastic waste generated as a result of the crops grown in the region. These solutions have the potential to be implemented throughout Spain and in other agricultural regions using greenhouse agriculture.
The plastics used in this sector are diverse and each one presents specific characteristics and problems to be solved depending on the case. The materials considered in these challenges are high density polyethylene (HDPE), low density polyethylene (LDPE), polypropylene (PP), polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and polystyrene (PS).
Our aim is also to make the end consumer aware of the environmental impact of plastic used in the agri-food industry. In particular, we would like to raise awareness about the negative impact it has on the oceans.
Today, only 9% of all plastic produced and consumed worldwide has been recycled, 12% has been incinerated, and the vast majority, 79%, has ended up in landfills or in the environment. Eighty per cent of the waste we find at sea comes from land, while the remaining 20 per cent comes from maritime activity.
The challenge thus posed falls within the framework of the following Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda proposed by the United Nations:
SDG 7: Ensure access to affordable, safe, sustainable and modern energy for all.
SDG 9: Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation and foster innovation.
SDG 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.
SDG 14: Conserve and sustainably use oceans, seas and marine resources.