In the first ever “Plastic Waste Makers Index” report published Tuesday, researchers revealed 20 companies are responsible for producing over 55 percent of all single-use plastic waste in the world.
The 20 global businesses are both state-owned and multinational corporations, consisting mainly of energy and chemical giants, and are responsible for a plastic waste footprint amounting to more than half of the 130 million metric tons of single-use plastic thrown away in 2019, reports Common Dreams.
ExxonMobil and Dow – both based in the USA – top the list, followed by China-based Sinopec, with these three companies together accounting for 16 percent of global single-use plastic waste, the report stated.
According to The Guardian, the report also reveals Australia leads a list of countries for generating the most single-use plastic waste on a per capita basis, ahead of the United States, South Korea and Britain.
The report lists five major findings:
- In 2019, just 20 polymer producers accounted for more than half of all single-use plastic waste generated globally – and the top 100 accounted for 90 percent.
- Major global investors and banks are enabling the single-use plastics crisis.
- There has been a collective industry failure to transition away from fossil-fuel-based feedstocks.
- Planned expansion of virgin polymer production capacity threatens to overwhelm hopes of a circular plastics economy.
- Single-use plastic waste is an entrenched geopolitical problem.
Since single-use plastics are primarily made from fossil fuels which means the production of these products is a huge contributor to the climate crisis. And these plastics are the hardest to recycle and take so long to break down, so mountains of global waste occur polluting our land and oceans.
“Since most plastic is made from oil and gas – especially fracked gas – the production and consumption of plastic are becoming a significant driver of the climate crisis. Moreover, the plastic waste that results – particularly from single-use plastics – is piling up in landfills, along roadsides, and in rivers that carry vast amounts into the ocean,” says Al Gore, the environmentalist and former U.S. vice-president.