If we expect to truly conquer our plastic problem, we need to look at the source and start holding companies responsible for their environmentally-destructive practices.
The Plastic Waste Makers Index can help us do just that.
“Unsurprisingly, single-use plastics also account for the majority of plastic thrown away the world over: more than 130 million metric tons in 2019 – almost all of which is burned, buried in landfill, or discarded directly into the environment.
The cost of single-use plastic waste is enormous. Of all the plastics, they are the most likely to end up in our ocean, where they account for almost all visible pollution, in the range of five to 13 million metric tons each year.1,2,3 Once there, single-use plastics eventually break down into tiny particles that impact wildlife health – and the ocean’s ability to store carbon.4 Single-use plastics contain chemical additives such as plasticisers that have been found in humans and are linked to a range of reproductive health problems.5 And if growth in single-use plastic production continues at current rates, they could account for five to 10 per cent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.6
Despite these threats, the plastics industry has been allowed to operate with minimal regulation and transparency for decades. Government policies, where they exist, tend to focus on the vast number of companies that sell finished plastic products. Relatively little attention has been paid to the smaller number of businesses at the base of the supply chain that make “polymers” – the building blocks of all plastics – almost exclusively from fossil fuels.”
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