Just 20 companies are responsible for over half of ‘throwaway’ plastic waste, study says


Turkish world record-holder free-diver and divers of the Underwater Federation Sahika Encumen dives amid plastic waste in Ortakoy shoreline to watch the life and air pollution of Bosphorus in Istanbul, Turkey on June 27, 2020.

Sebnem Coskun | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

LONDON — Just 20 companies are the supply of greater than half of single-use plastic objects thrown away globally, in line with the findings of a brand new study, highlighting the devastating influence this has on the setting.

The Plastic Waste Makers Index, published Tuesday, names the companies who are on the forefront of the plastic provide chain and manufacture polymers, often called the constructing block of plastics. It additionally highlighted that the corporations recognized are supported by a small quantity of monetary backers.

Single-use plastics, resembling bottles, baggage and meals packages, are probably the most generally discarded kind of plastic. Made nearly completely from fossil fuels, these “throwaway” plastics typically finish their brief lifecycle polluting the oceans, being burned or dumped into landfills.

The study says 20 petrochemical companies are responsible for 55% of the world’s single-use plastic waste.

The findings have been revealed by the Minderoo Foundation, one of Asia’s largest philanthropies. The analysis was performed by teachers from the London School of Economics, the Stockholm Environment Institute and Wood Mackenzie, amongst others.

U.S. vitality large ExxonMobil tops the list, contributing 5.9 million metric tons to international plastic waste, intently adopted by U.S. chemical compounds firm Dow and China’s Sinopec. The study says an extended record of 100 companies are the supply of 90% of international single-use plastic manufacturing.

Meanwhile, near 60% of the business finance funding the plastic waste disaster comes from just 20 global banks, the study mentioned. A complete of $30 billion of loans from these establishments, together with Barclays, HSBC and Bank of America, amongst others, has supported the sector since 2011.

As consciousness of the toll of plastic air pollution has grown, the petrochemical business has informed us it is our personal fault and has directed consideration towards habits change from end-users of these merchandise, quite than addressing the issue at its supply.

Al Gore

Former U.S. vp

The analysis additionally assessed the nations that are the largest contributors to the single-use plastic disaster, primarily based on per head of inhabitants. Australia and the U.S., respectively, have been discovered to provide the best quantities of “throwaway” plastics, at greater than 50kg per individual per 12 months in 2019.

South Korea and the U.Ok. have been discovered to generate 44kg of single-use plastic waste per individual.

By distinction, the common individual in China — the most important producer of single-use plastic by quantity — produces 18kg of single-use plastic per 12 months. For India, that determine is as little as 4kg per 12 months, the study mentioned.

“The trajectories of the local weather disaster and the plastic waste disaster are strikingly comparable and more and more intertwined,” Al Gore, former U.S. vp, mentioned in an announcement accompanying the analysis.

“As consciousness of the toll of plastic air pollution has grown, the petrochemical business has informed us it is our personal fault and has directed consideration towards habits change from end-users of these merchandise, quite than addressing the issue at its supply,” he added.

‘Break the sample of inaction’

Environmental activists have beforehand laid the blame for plastic waste at companies resembling PespiCo and Coca-Cola. However, this study suggests {that a} group of petrochemical companies are really the supply of the disaster — one which has devastating ecological, social and environmental penalties.

After Exxon Mobil, Dow and Sinpoec, the study says these corporations are the largest producers of single-use plastic: Indorama Ventures, Saudi Aramco, PetroChina, LyondellBasell, Reliance Industries, Braskem, Alpek SA de CV, Borealis, Lotte Chemical, INEOS, Total, Jiangsu Hailun Petrochemical, Far Eastern New Century, Formosa Plastics Corporation, China Energy Investment Group, PTT and China Resources.

CNBC contacted the highest companies recognized as being responsible for the plastic waste disaster and the main banks enabling waste technology.

In response, a spokesperson at ExxonMobil mentioned the corporate “shares society’s concern about plastic waste and agrees it should be addressed.”

“ExxonMobil is taking motion to deal with plastic waste by growing plastic recyclability, supporting enhancements in plastic waste restoration – for instance, by way of our founding membership within the Alliance to End Plastic Waste – and minimizing plastic pellet loss from our operations,” they added.

The different companies contacted weren’t instantly obtainable to return a request for remark.

A person paddles on a ship as plastic baggage float on the water floor of the Buriganga river in Dhaka on January 21, 2020.

MUNIR UZ ZAMAN | AFP | Getty Images

“Our reliance on oil and fuel shouldn’t be solely fuelling local weather change, however as the first materials used within the manufacturing of throwaway plastics can be devastating our oceans,” mentioned Sam Fankhauser, professor of Climate Change Economics and Policy on the Smith School, University of Oxford.

“It is critically essential petrochemical companies transfer in direction of circular-economy-based options if we are going to efficiently sort out these interlinked crises,” Fankhauser mentioned.

The report warns that plastic manufacturing is about to develop by 30% within the subsequent 5 years, creating much more plastic waste and exacerbating the local weather emergency.

“This is the first-time the monetary and materials flows of single-use plastic manufacturing have been mapped globally and traced again to their supply,” mentioned Toby Gardner, senior analysis fellow on the Stockholm Environment Institute.

“Revealing the sheer scale of the worldwide disaster we now have on our arms, its essential we break the sample of inaction. You cannot handle what you’ll be able to’t measure. Building on the evaluation revealed at the moment, this is the reason it’s so essential the small group of companies and banks that dominate international manufacturing of throwaway plastics start to reveal their very own information.”

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