The global human population produces close to 800 billion pounds of plastic each year, with a majority coming from single-use plastics. A new report from the Plastic Waste Makers Index has revealed 20 companies are responsible for producing more than half of all single-use plastic in the world. These manufacturers are still using a linear model when it comes to product production – meaning petroleum-based products are manufactured, used, and then immediately disposed of in a landfill as a best case scenario.
The World Economic Forum states that 56% of plastic waste remains in landfills, while the remaining portion is incinerated. The global plastic recycling rate still remains extremely low at only 14-18%. While recycling is repeatedly touted as the solution to this problem, the harsh reality is that it is only an interim solution. To correctly combat the single-use plastic problem, manufacturers, waste management companies and even consumers must all work together to create a true circular economy.