The U.S. and Australia produce the largest amounts of single-use plastic waste at over 50 kilos per person, per year. The UK comes in fourth, at over 40 kilos generated per person, while the average person in China produces 18 kilos. In India, it is as low as 4 kilos per year.
COVID-19 has contributed to the production of single-use plastics, with the demand for masks and protective equipment skyrocketing. Investors then, stung by the drop in the oil price during the outbreak, sought profits in the surging stocks of single-use plastics firms.
The are calls for new rules around plastic production. Companies should be “required to disclose their plastic waste footprint,” while investors should “shift capital” to “companies using recycled plastic feedstocks.”
ExxonMobil has helped set up the Alliance to End Plastic Waste – an industry organization with Dow and Royal Dutch Shell – that has pledged 1.5 billion dollars by 2024 to reduce plastic pollution.