In an article published on January 19, 2016 the Ellen McArthur Foundation informs about a new report entitled “The new plastics economy: Rethinking the future of plastics.” The report was produced by the Ellen McArthur Foundation, the World Economic Forum, and McKinsey & Company as part of the circular economy initiative Project MainStream. According to the report, most plastic packaging is used only once. In this manner, 95% of the value of plastic packaging material, worth $80-120 billion annually, is lost to the economy. Further, negative externalities generated by plastic packaging, such as leakage into oceans, are valued at $40 billion. Assuming continuous growth in plastic consumption in a business-as-usual scenario, by 2050 oceans are predicted to contain more plastics than fish (by weight), and the plastics industry is estimated to consume 20% of total oil production and 15% of the annual carbon budget. The report outlines how applying circular economy principles to global plastic packaging flows could transform the plastics economy and reduce its value chain drawbacks as well as its negative externalities, while maintaining the benefits of plastic packaging. This includes creating effective after-use pathways for plastics, reducing leakage of plastics into natural systems, and decoupling plastics from fossil feedstocks.
Ellen McArthur Foundation (January 19, 2016). “New plastics economy report offers blueprint to design a circular future for plastics.”
Sarah Kaplan (January 20, 2016). “By 2050, there will be more plastic than fish in the world’s oceans, study says.” The Washington Post
Cole Mellino (January 20, 2016). “There will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050.” EcoWatch
Plastics News (January 20, 2016). “Report: More plastic than fish in the world’s seas by 2050.”
World Economic Forum, Ellen MacArthur Foundation and McKinsey & Company (2016). “The new plastics economy – Rethinking the future of plastics.” (pdf)