Only 20 companies are responsible for over half of the world’s single-use plastic products thrown away globally, a study found.
Researchers analyzed the corporate network responsible for plastic production, looking at 1,000 factories that make the raw materials for single-use plastics, including food packaging and plastic bags that can take up to 500 years to decompose.
Vast quantities of single-use plastics end up in the world’s oceans, degrading the environment for marine life and polluting the water.
The Plastic Waste Makers Index identified the companies at the initial stages of plastic production, which make polymers, the foundation of all plastics. The companies include U.S.-based giants such as ExxonMobil and Dow and Chinese chemicals corporation Sinopec, Indorama Ventures and Saudi Aramco, among others.
According to the study, ExxonMobil, one of the world’s most profitable companies, contributes 5.9 million tons to global plastic waste.