The expected expansion of plastic production will emit greenhouse gases (GHG) equivalent to an estimated 56 Gt CO2e between 2015-50, representing 10-13 per cent of the entire remaining carbon budget. Addressing plastic production is therefore a climate priority and the adoption of a new global plastics treaty which promotes a circular economy for plastics and controls plastic production is a key climate strategy.
Until the mid-1950s, plastics were precious commodities that were used and treated carefully. But in just 65 years, plastic production has increased by 18,300 per cent – fuelling a relentless convenience lifestyle that produces enormous and unnecessary quantities of waste.
Recent years have witnessed an alarming increase in the illegal trade of plastic waste, with high-income countries consuming plastic products and packaging at unsustainable rates, exporting their plastic waste to developing countries with little capacity and infrastructure to manage it.
Policy recommendations for the Government of China prior to the 15th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in Kunming, 11-24 October 2021