Plastics have become one of the most prolific materials on the planet: in 2015 we
produced about 380 million tonnes of plastics globally, up from 2 million tonnes in
the 1950s. Yet today only 15% of this plastic waste is collected and recycled into
secondary plastics globally each year. This report looks at why this is the case and
what we can do about it, as the pervasiveness of plastics is becoming an urgent public
health and planetary problem. Not only is the diffusion of waste plastics into the
wider environment creating hugely negative impacts, but plastics production emits
approximately 400 million tonnes of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions annually as a result
of the energy used in their production, transport, and final waste treatment. Improved
plastics collection and recycling represents a promising solution to these concerns.
webinar VIDEO RECORDING: RETHINKING PLASTIC RECYCLING IN A DISPOSABLE SOCIETY
The global production and use of plastics are expected to increase fourfold to 2050 and if the material is poorly managed at the end-of-life, this will potentially result in significantly increased impacts on the environment, especially through marine plastic litter.
Based on the above report, on 23 January 2019, Peter Börkey, of the OECD Environment Directorate, addressed this pressing issue and the policy responses that are required to tackle it.
speech and PRESS RELEASE
09/06/2018 - Remarks by Angel Gurría, OECD Secretary-General at the Charlevoix G7 Leaders’ Summit: G7 and Outreach Leaders Working Session. Read the full speech.
24/05/2018 - Plastic recycling is failing to reach its full potential as low recovery rates of plastic waste, poor quality of recycled plastic and a lack of price incentives are holding back secondary plastic markets, according to a new OECD report. Given rising public concern over plastic pollution, governments should act urgently to encourage more and better recycling, it says. Read the full press release.
The OECD RE-CIRCLE project provides policy guidance on resource efficiency and the transition to a circular economy and aims to identify and quantify the impact of policies to guide a range of stakeholders in OECD member countries and emerging market economies through quantitative and qualitative analysis.
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