Global – ‘Most plastic packaging is used only once; 95% of the value of plastic packaging material – worth US$ 80-120 billion annually – is lost to the economy,’ says a report entitled ”The New Plastics Economy”.
The plastics industry will consume an estimated 20% of total oil production by 2050 and 15% of the annual carbon budget. Based on projected growth in consumption, a business-as-usual scenario would then result in oceans containing more plastics than fish by weight, it is claimed in the joint publication from the World Economic Forum, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and McKinsey & Company.
It is contended that plastic packaging generates ‘negative externalities’, valued conservatively by the United Nations Environment Programme at US$ 40 billion.
‘In this context,’ the report concludes, ‘an opportunity beckons for the plastics value chain to deliver better system-wide economic and environmental outcomes, while continuing to harness the benefits of plastic packaging.’
Dominic Waughray of the World Economic Forum comments: ‘To move from insight to large-scale action, it is clear that no one actor can work on this alone; the public, private sector and civil society all need to mobilise in order to capture the opportunity of the new circular plastics economy.’
And Ellen MacArthur adds: ‘By demonstrating how circular economy principles can be applied to global plastic flows, this report provides a model for achieving the systemic shift our economy needs to make in order to work in the long term.’
The Ellen MacArthur Foundation is to establish an initiative to act as a cross-value-chain global dialogue mechanism and drive the shift towards what is termed the New Plastics Economy.