Plastic Waste Makers Index 2023
Coherent Identifier 20.500.12592/c9f399

Plastic Waste Makers Index 2023

6 February 2023


In this 2023 edition, the Plastic Waste Makers Index includes new estimates of cradle-to-grave greenhouse gas emissions from single-use plastics, demonstrating how single-use plastics producers also contribute to the climate crisis. Despite rising consumer awareness, corporate attention, and regulation, an additional 6 million metric tons (MMT) of waste was generated in 2021 compared to 2019 — still almost entirely made from fossil fuel-based “virgin” feedstocks. Most emissions are produced by the oil and gas and petrochemical industries in the “upstream” part of the lifecycle. Mechanical recycling reduces cradle-to-grave emissions by at least 30 to 40 per cent compared to producing polymers from fossil fuels by avoiding upstream emissions. While the emissions reduction opportunities from recycling are significant, they can only be part of the solution towards a net zero plastics economy. Compared to the first edition of the Index, we see signs that the industry in general is taking circularity more seriously, but this will only amount to “greenwashing” if words are not backed up by action and investment.

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environment climate pollution waste emissions plastic