Did you know that plastic isn’t just a problem when it enters the environment as waste? Rather, plastic pollutes at every step of its life, from extraction to production, consumption and finally disposal. There is too much plastic in the system. Half of all plastic ever produced was made in the last 13 years. Plastic production globally continues to increase, with the plastic industry projecting 75% growth in the production of polyethylene (one of the most common types of plastic) in the US by 2022. Much of that growth is in single-use plastic with no recycled content. At this rate, there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050. To reduce the consequences of plastic production and disposal, we must reduce the amount of plastic being produced.
Today, producers bear ultimate responsibility for plastic pollution. Many may have been led to think that plastic pollutions is the product of careless litterbugs. While that may be true in certain countries with developed waste and recycling infrastructure, the majority of plastic waste entering the environment comes from developing nations in the global South. Despite the lack of established systems to manage plastic waste, multinational corporations continue to dump huge volumes of low-value plastic into this region despite knowing full well where that plastic will end up.
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