The plastics industry, like most others, was slow to respond to environmental pressures. Partly as a consequence of this it now faces irrational prejudices and demands which may lead to inappropriate decisions in response to undoubtedly real problems. Plastics possess some special characteristics but most of the potential environmental problems and their solutions are common to other materials and industries.
This review considers their environmental impact in terms of industrial systems (e.g. eco-profile and life-cycle systems), and looks at energy consumption and recovery, as well as recycling. It is supported by an extensive bibliography compiled from the Polymer Library.