Experts call for an end to virgin plastic production by 2040

A new report has called for circularity innovation to help eliminate single-use plastic

By DTE Staff
Published: Wednesday 07 July 2021

A new report has called for a legally binding global agreement to end the production of virgin plastic by 2040.

The report, published in Science journal, addressed the entire lifecycle of plastics, from extraction to legacy plastic pollution. It was written by a team of academics and experts from Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL).

The paper called for circularity innovation to help eliminate single-use plastics. Since the 1950s about eight billion tonnes of plastic has been produced. The properties that made plastic an essential material also make it a serious environmental threat, said the report.

The largest proportion of plastic waste comes from packaging materials (47 per cent). Textiles are responsible for 14 per cent and transport 6 per cent of plastic waste.

Each year, 3 per cent of worldwide plastic waste ends up in the oceans. In 2010 this amounted to about 8 million tonnes of plastic.

Yet, 368 million tonnes of virgin plastics were produced in 2019. The report said that by 2050, as much as 12,000 million tonnes of plastic waste will accumulate in landfills or the natural environment.

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