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SCALING SUSTAINABLE PLASTICS : Solutions to drive plastics towards a circular economy

The use of plastic has advanced society by improving healthcare through its use in medical equipment, providing packaging to reduce food waste, and cutting transportation costs and emissions due to its lighter weight. However, huge volumes of plastic are also used for disposable packaging and products leading to many negative environmental consequences. If predicted strong growth of plastics continues with production from fossil fuels, the plastics sector will be responsible for 15% of the 2050 global annual carbon budget needed to achieve the internationally accepted goal to limit global warming to 2°C5.

The sector is evolving. Innovation in the form of biodegradable plastics, recycled materials and plant-based polymers offer lower environmental impact in production. Closed loop recycling, transitioning towards the circular economy, offers further reduction of impact at end-of-use, and further reduces the impact of next generation manufacture of products. These opportunities are positive, but they are often happening in a fragmented way. In order for the sector to truly become circular, sustainability needs to be scaled up – and quickly.

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Scaling Sustainable Plastics Report
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