According to the UNEA, the treaty will be legally binding and govern the full life cycle of plastics, from design and production to disposal. The resolution calls for greater international collaboration in dealing with single-use plastics, which have become an ecological disaster.
From 1950 to 2017, global plastics production grew from two million tons per year to 348 million tons per year. This figure is on track to double by 2040. 11 million tons of plastic waste flows into the world’s oceans every year, with that amount expected to triple by 2040.
While plastic production is a significant contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions, it is in the oceans where single-use plastics cause the greatest harm. Plastics are harmful to marine and coastal species, while microplastics – the tiny fragments of plastics that have been churned and broken up in ocean environments for years, ingested by animals – have now been found in human blood and body tissue for the first time.
It is clear the world has a plastic problem. 16 years ago, the founders of Eva-Last – Marc Minne and Nathan Chapman – recognised an opportunity to recycle single-use plastics recovered from the oceans to create specialised building products that were designed to last, while solving a growing environmental problem by both replacing threatened natural hardwoods in construction and collecting discarded plastics.
In the years since 2006, Eva-Last, which celebrates its birthday in April, has become a globally recognised brand that manufactures and distributes bamboo-plastic composite decking, cladding and flooring materials, along with complementary support and fastening products.
“It is incredible how the brand has managed to pull together so many great ideas linked to sustainability. Our products are manufactured using fast-growing and easily replenished stocks of bamboo, along with recycled single-use plastics. These materials are co-extruded in a manufacturing process driven by solar energy. As a brand, our name demonstrates our commitment to sustainability and the longevity of our products, backed up by our certifications and credentials,” says Minne, Eva-Last’s CEO.
Eva-Last now sells its products in 35 countries globally and has been part of some of the world’s largest building projects. “What began as an idea in South Africa has now become a truly international organisation and that is all because the market supports our green ethos,” says Minne.
Since 2020 the company has used the pandemic years to attract leading corporate talent and effectively double in size as it scales up its capacity to take on the next level of global distribution.
“It is incredible that so many high-profile executives are keen to join us, but that speaks to the growth story ahead, our environmental credentials and our ambition as a leader in composite building technology. Running a truly global brand is a highly complex undertaking, but we have the patents and class-leading warranties to show that there is still a long way to go for Eva-Last,” Minne adds.
South Africa’s varied and harsh climates were the perfect proving ground for products built for performance and longevity. “It has taken years of research and design, but Eva-Last has created building materials that make life easier for owners, developers, architects, building professionals – the whole value chain. To have a catalogue of environmentally conscious building materials just aligns us further with the way the market is moving. Our products are used in all possible climates and terrains around the world, providing not only high performance and aesthetics but reassuring levels of safety and protection against fire, water and slippage,” he says.