More plastic than fish in the oceans by 2050

According to a new study published by the World Economic Forum and Ellen MacArthur Foundation, with support from McKinsey & Company, applying circular economy principles to the global plastic packaging industry could completely transform the plastics economy and drastically reduce negative impacts.

The study, entitled The New Plastics Economy: Rethinking the future of plastics, alerts to the fact that at the current rate we may be looking at an ocean with more plastic than fish by 2050. The study also predicts that the plastics industry will soon be consuming 20% of the total oil production and 15% of the annual carbon budget.

Even though plastics and plastic packaging are an integral part of the global economy, the truth is that 95% of the value of plastic packaging material is wasted, which represents about 80 to 120 billion dollars annually. Moreover, most plastic packaging is used only once, generating several negative impacts valued by UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) at 40 billion dollars.

This New Plastics Economy searches for a balanced approach so that we can continue to take advantage of the benefits of plastic packaging while at the same time providing better environmental and economic outcomes. This new approach aims to incorporate a significant re-use of plastic products, thus drastically reducing leakage of plastics into natural systems, such as oceans, and disassociating plastics from fossil stocks.

Circular economy is represented by a regenerative cycle, which aims to maintain products, components and materials at a constant level of high utility and for the longest time possible, thus eliminating the dependence on large amounts of low-cost and easily accessible materials, and energy.

Read or download the full report here.

Original article in here.