Is the New Plastic Economy a Blueprint to Design a Circular Future?

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

 

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation thinks so. In a new report issued today entitled The New Plastics Economy: Rethinking the Future of Plastics, the Foundation looks at the plastics lifecycle through the lens of the circular economy and examines concrete steps that can be taken towards system-wide change.

 

From the report: "...while plastics and plastic packaging are an integral part of the global economy and deliver many benefits, their value chains currently entail significant drawbacks. Assessing global plastic packaging flows comprehensively for the first time, the report finds that most plastic packaging is used only once; 95% of the value of plastic packaging material, worth $80-120 billion annually, is lost to the economy. Additionally, plastic packaging generates negative externalities, valued conservatively by UNEP at $40 billion. Given projected growth in consumption, in a business-as-usual scenario, by 2050 oceans are expected to contain more plastics than fish (by weight), and the entire plastics industry will consume 20% of total oil production, and 15% of the annual carbon budget. In this context, an opportunity beckons for the plastics value chain to deliver better system-wide economic and environmental outcomes, while continuing to harness the benefits of plastic packaging."

 

Read the full report on the Ellen MacArthur Foundation's website.

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