Report: Plastic contributes more emissions than aviation industry


plastic bottles

Plastic contributes 3.4% (1.8 billion tonnes) of global greenhouse gas emissions every year, more than either the Aviation (1.9%) and Shipping (1.7%) industries, according to a new report.

The report by plastic waste prevention startup CleanHub also found that 60% of plastic emissions come from its production, 29% from distribution, and 11% from disposal.

The other key findings from the report are that 93% of plastics are made with fossil fuels, with 14% of all extracted oil going towards it, and 9% (31,770,000 million tonnes) of plastic is recycled annually.

The majority of plastic emissions come from the production process (60%), according to the data, and most plastic manufacturing is done in China. Almost 32% of all plastic is made in China, the report says, compared to 18% in North America and 15% in Europe.

There’s never been a more vital time to raise awareness to the dangers of plastic pollution.

Plastic disposal accounts for 11% of its overall emissions, especially as only 9% of plastic globally is recycled. According to the data, this drops to 4% in the US and, of the remaining plastic, 73% is sent to a landfill – an estimated 27 million tonnes per year – 19% is incinerated, and 4% is “mismanaged” or uncollected.

Commenting on the findings, Nikki Stones, Vice President of Marketing at CleanHub, said: “With a carbon footprint as large as aviation, over a million species at risk of extinction, and microplastics now found in humans, the scale of plastic’s impact is shocking and must be addressed.

“There’s never been a more vital time to raise awareness to the dangers of plastic pollution, as well as to promote and use sustainable practices to produce and recycle it more effectively.”

Send this to a friend