March 27, 2023
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Single-use plastic waste rises from 2019-2021 despite pledges

SINGAPORE — Polluting single-use plastic manufacturing rose by 6 million tons per yr from 2019 to 2021 despite harder worldwide laws, with producers making “little progress” to deal with the issue and enhance recycling, new analysis confirmed on Monday.

Single-use plastics have emerged as one of many world’s most urgent environmental threats, with huge quantities of waste buried in landfills or dumped untreated in rivers and oceans. The manufacturing course of can be a significant supply of climate-warming greenhouse fuel.

However whereas development has slowed lately, the manufacturing of single-use plastic from “virgin” fossil gas sources remains to be nowhere close to its peak, and using recycled feedstocks stays “at best a marginal activity”, Australia’s Minderoo Basis mentioned in its Plastic Waste Makers Index.

“Make no mistake, the plastic waste crisis is going to get significantly worse before we see an absolute year-on-year decline in virgin single-use plastic consumption,” it mentioned.

Exxon Mobil XOM.N was on the prime of the listing of worldwide petrochemical firms producing virgin polymers utilized in single-use plastics, adopted by China’s Sinopec.

Sinopec additionally leads the best way with regards to constructing new manufacturing amenities over the 2019-2027 interval, the report mentioned, with greater than 5 million tons of annual capability deliberate. Exxon Mobil was second with round 4 million tons.

Exxon Mobil was not instantly out there for touch upon Monday. Sinopec additionally couldn’t be reached for remark.

China has pushed fast development in world plastic demand over the previous 15 years. Despite high-profile bans on some single-use merchandise beginning in 2019, it additionally accounted for half of the 15 million tonnes of latest capability that got here on-line over 2019-2021.

China mentioned final yr in a “five-year plan” to deal with plastic manufacturing that it will make deep cuts within the manufacturing and utilization of single-use plastics and ban some merchandise solely.

Chinese language manufacturing development is anticipated to sluggish, however the nation nonetheless accounts for half of the highest 20 firms planning to extend virgin polymer capability as much as 2027, Minderoo mentioned.

Round 137 million tons of single-use plastics have been produced from fossil fuels in 2021, and it’s anticipated to rise by one other 17 million tons by 2027, the researchers mentioned. — Reuters

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