They’re everywhere. In packaging, bottles, clothes, electronic devices, cars, building materials, or even cosmetics: plastics. Humans have been using this class of materials for over 60 years and we can no longer imagine life without them. This is because plastics, unlike other groups of materials, have an extremely broad array of material properties and can therefore be used for a whole range of applications. This characteristic – along with their generally low cost and good workability – has led to plastics being used to a massive extent in more and more areas in recent decades. Whereas annual global plastic production stood at just 2 million tons in 1950, some 380 million tons of plastic were produced around the world in 2015.
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