Half of Single-Use Plastic Waste Produced by 20 Firms

Over half of global single-use plastic waste including face masks, plastic bags and bottles are produced by only 20 firms according to a new report. With 5.9 million tonnes of plastic waste, ExxonMobil is the greatest single-use plastic polluter, followed by Dow, a US-based chemical company and Sinopec, a China-based oil and gas firm. The report also found that Australia generated the most single-use plastic waste per person in 2019, followed by the US, South Korea and the UK. Canada was ranked in 9th position for plastic waste per person behind Spain. Single-use plastic production is funded by prominent banks with Barclays Bank lending more than 3 billion to plastic producers according to the report. While plastic waste pollutes oceans and overwhelms landfills, its production also has an environmental cost as it relies primarily on fossil fuels. Therefore the single-use plastic industry is driving the climate crisis. Even though many single-use plastics can be recycled, only 10-15% are actually recycled worldwide every year. The report states that the plastic industry has operated with minimal regulations and transparency, which undermines the transition to a circular economy.

Photo by John Cameron on Unsplash

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