Plastic is an important, ubiquitous and cost-effective material in our economy and daily lives. It has multiple functions to make our lives better, safer and healthier every day. However, it has serious downsides due to its production, usage, waste and what happens to it afterwards.
Plastic production has a huge carbon footprint (6kg of CO2 per 1kg of plastic) and the global production has grown exponentially in just a few decades – from 1.5 million tonnes in 1950 to 322 million tonnes in 2015 worldwide – followed by the increase of plastic waste.1
The impact of today’s single-use plastic (i.e. packaging or other consumer products that are thrown away after one brief use) culture can be seen everywhere - even on your favorite beach.
Let’s talk about facts:
- In the EU, 40% of plastic is produced for packaging purpose.1
- Around 25.8 million tonnes of plastic waste are generated in Europe every year1 and 59% is generated by packaging2.
- Less than a third (30%) of plastic waste is recycled1 and each 1 million tonnes of plastic recycled equals to 1 million cars off the road in CO2 benefits.3
- More than 150 million tonnes of plastic exist in the oceans today and an estimated 4.8 to 12.7 tonnes of plastic enter the oceans every year.4
- Single-use plastics are the biggest single group of waste found on sea shores - 49% of total marine litter.3
Our addiction to plastic driven by convenience is harming our planet, our future and our health. We are producing tonnes of plastic per year, of which only a small amount is recycled. Reusing and recycling are quite important but, as the numbers show, not enough.
It is time to tackle the problem: reduce single-use plastic.
1Source: Eurostat, Plastic Waste and Recycling in Europe (2016)
2Source: Eunomia, Recycling – Who Really Leads the World? (2017)
3Source: European Commission, A European Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy (2018)
4Source: European Parliamentary Research Service, Plastic in the ocean: the facts, effects and new EU rules (2018)