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Plastic Consumption Is Projected to Nearly Double by 2050, According to Studies

Haiden Holmes

Feb 27, 2023 14:08


According to research published on Monday, plastic consumption in G20 nations is on track to nearly double by the middle of the 21st century unless a comprehensive and legally binding global treaty to reduce consumption is drafted.

According to Back to Blue, a research group operated by the Economist Impact think-tank and the Nippon Foundation, existing initiatives to increase recycling or reduce single-use plastic consumption have "barely scratched the surface" and a more comprehensive global plan is required.

In Uruguay, the United Nations began negotiations on an agreement to combat plastic pollution in November, with the goal of drafting a legally binding treaty by the end of the following year. 175 countries have joined up for the negotiations.

Nonetheless, if negotiations fail, annual plastic production in G20 nations could reach 451 million tonnes by 2050 based on current development rates, according to Back to Blue - an increase of nearly 75 percent from 2019.

The research group stated, "There should be no illusions that the treaty negotiations will be anything but difficult and treacherous." "The likelihood of failure is high, both in terms of no treaty emerging and a treaty that is insufficient to reverse the plastic tide."

It called for a stricter ban on single-use plastic, as well as increased production taxes and mandatory programs to hold companies accountable for the entire lifecycle of their products, including recycling and disposal.

Back to Blue stated that the combined measures could limit annual consumption to 325 million tonnes by 2050, but that would still be a 25 percent increase from 2019 and the equivalent of 238 million garbage vehicles.

Brazil, the United States, Indonesia, and Turkey are among the G20 countries that have yet to introduce national prohibitions on single-use plastic products, according to the report.