Technological watch

Plastic accumulation during COVID-19: call for another pandemic; bioplastic a step towards this challenge?

Plastic pollution has become a serious transboundary challenge to nature and human health, with estimation of reports published — predicting a twofold increase in plastic waste by 2030. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the excessive use of single-use plastics (including face masks, gloves and personal protective equipment) would possibly exacerbate such forecasts. The transition towards eco-friendly alternatives like bio-based plastics and new emerging sustainable technologies would be vital to deal with future pandemics, even though the use or consumption of plastics has greatly enhanced our quality of life; it is however critical to move towards bioplastics. We cannot deny the fact that bioplastics have some challenges and shortcomings, but still, it is an ideal option for opt. The circular economy is the need of the hour for waste management. Along with all these practices, individual accountability, corporate intervention and government policy are also needed to prevent us from moving from one crisis to the next. Only through cumulative efforts, we will be able to cope up with this problem. This article collected scattered information and data about accumulation of plastic during COVID-19 worldwide. Additionally, this paper illustrates the substitution of petroleum-based plastics with bio-based plastics. Different aspects are discussed, ranging from advantages to challenges in the way of bioplastics.


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 870292.