Over the past 65 years we have seen an increase in plastic material production from 15 to 300 million tons*. It is imperative that we do everything we can to make sure this plastic does not end up in the environment and is recycled to enter its second life.
Companies in the plastics value chain create plastic packaging and products which provide to the people of this planet better solutions for health care, food packaging, automotive parts, building & construction which are produced at a lower cost when compared to alternative materials and enable lower environmental impact when the full life cycle of the product is considered.
However, one report** shows that at least 8 million tons of plastics leak into the ocean each year. This is equivalent to dumping the contents of one garbage truck into the ocean every minute ***. If no significant action is taken, one recent estimate suggests that there may be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050 (by weight****).
Thanks to the good work of organizations like The Ocean Conservancy we also know that the main reason for plastics to get into the ocean is the lack of collection and processing infrastructure for the waste plastics in the coastal communities.
Instead of making it to the recycling plants, it gets into the environment and, from there, it ends up in the ocean. It is cited that 80% of plastics in the ocean***** is unrecycled waste & litter.
References on this page
* PlasticsEurope (2012): Plastics – The Facts 2012 – An analysis of European plastics production, demand and waste data for 2011. Brussels.
** Stemming the Tide – an The Ocean Conservancy Report 2015
*** WEF 2016
**** WEF 2015
***** Plastic waste inputs from land into the ocean – Jenna R Jambeck, Roland Geyer, Chris Wilcox, Theodore R Siegler, Miriam Perryman, Anthony Andrady, Ramani Narayan, Kara Lavender Law