$180bn investment in plastic factories feeds global packaging binge

The global plastic binge which is already causing widespread damage to oceans, habitats and food chains, is set to increase dramatically over the next 10 years after multibillion dollar investments in a new generation of plastics plants in the US.

…The new facilities – being built by corporations like Exxon Mobile Chemical and Shell Chemical – will help fuel a 40% rise in plastic production in the next decade

…“Around 99% of the feedstock for plastics is fossil fuels, so we are looking at the same companies, like Exxon and Shell, that have helped create the climate crisis. There is a deep and pervasive relationship between oil and gas companies and plastics.”

…The huge investment in plastic production has been driven by the shale gas boom in the US. This has resulted in one of the raw materials used to produce plastic resin – natural gas liquids – dropping dramatically in price.

…“There has been a revolution in the US with the shale gas technologies, with the fracking, the horizontal drilling. The cost of our raw material base has gone down by roughly two thirds.”

…“In the US, fossil fuel and petrochemical companies are investing hundreds of billions of dollars to expand plastic production capacity… All this buildout, if allowed to proceed, will flood the global market with even more disposable, unmanageable plastic for decades to come.”

…A million plastic bottles are bought around the world every minute with most ending up in landfill or the sea. 

$180bn investment in plastic factories feeds global packaging binge | Environment | The Guardian

Again, straws aren’t really the problem, folks.


French Plastic Use: Key facts and figures

The production of plastic packaging has been increasing since the summer of 2013, with growth of 2.4% in 2016, and an acceleration in the first half of 2017: + 3.5%. By comparison, output of manufacturing industries across all sectors stagnated in 2016 (+ 0.3%) and grew by 1.7% year on year in the first half of 2017.

…Packaging is the main plastics user sector with nearly 45.1% consumed in France and 39.9% in Europe (source PlasticsEurope 2017).

Key facts and figures – Elipso


We Depend on Plastic. Now We’re Drowning in It.

Roughly 40 percent of the now more than 448 million tons of plastic produced every year is disposable, much of it used as packaging intended to be discarded within minutes after purchase. Production has grown at such a breakneck pace that virtually half the plastic ever manufactured has been made in the past 15 years. [emphasis: mine] Last year the Coca-Cola Company, perhaps the world’s largest producer of plastic bottles, acknowledged for the first time just how many it makes: 128 billion a year. Nestlé, PepsiCo, and others also churn out torrents of bottles.

…The waste that clogs Manila’s beaches and waterways…. Much of it consists of sachets—tear-off packets that once held a single serving of shampoo, toothpaste, coffee, condiments, or other products. They are sold by the millions to poor people like Siena and his family, who can’t afford to buy more than one serving at a time. Sachets blow around Manila like leaves falling from trees. They’re not recyclable, so no waste picker will retrieve them. Crispian Lao, a member of the National Solid Waste Management Commission, says, “This segment of packaging is growing, and it has become a real challenge for solid waste management.”

…When Greenpeace cleaned the Freedom Island beach, it posted a tally of the brand names of the sachets its volunteers had collected. Nestlé ranked first, Unilever second. Litterbugs aren’t the only ones at fault, says Greenpeace’s Abigail Aguilar: “We believe that the ones producing and promoting the use of single-use plastics have a major role in the whole problem.”

…Johnson & Johnson is switching from plastic back to paper [emphasis: mine] stems on its cotton swabs.

We Depend on Plastic. Now We’re Drowning in It.

Repeat after me: Straws aren’t the problem.  The increase in single use plastic products and plastic packaging is.