220m Tonnes Of Plastic Waste Set To Be Generated This Year

By Steve Wynne-Jones
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220m Tonnes Of Plastic Waste Set To Be Generated This Year

Some 220 million tonnes of plastic waste is set to be generated in 2024, a new report from EA Earth Action has found, equating to around 28 kilograms for every person on the planet.

In addition, one third of this plastic will be mismanaged at the end of its life, the study found, resulting in around 68.6 million tonnes of plastic ending up in nature.

EA Earth Action made its assessment as it announced this year's Plastic Overshoot Day, in other words, the point at which the amount of plastic waste generated exceeds the world’s capacity to manage it.

This year's Plastic Overshoot Day lands on 5 September 2024, according to the NGO.

According to EA Earth Action, improvements in waste management capacity are fast being outpaced by rising plastic production, resulting in a situation where recycling is having only a small effect in solving the plastic crisis.


Progress 'Almost Invisible'

"The findings are unequivocal; improvements in waste management capacity are outpaced by rising plastic production, making progress almost invisible," commented Sarah Perreard, Co-CEO, at EA Earth Action & Plastic Footprint Network. "The assumption that recycling and waste management capacity will solve the plastics crisis is flawed.”

“The 2024 Plastic Overshoot Day report can serve both as a testament to our current trajectory and as a blueprint for necessary action. The decisions made today will echo through ecosystems and economies for generations."

Almost 50 percent of the world’s populations are currently living in areas where plastic waste generated has already exceeded the capacity to manage it, a figure that is set to increase as the year progresses.

Plastic Waste

Notably, just 12 countries are responsible for 60% of the world’s mismanaged plastic waste, the top five being China, USA, India, Brazil, and Mexico, however, all countries contribute to some degree to the overall plastic overshoot, i.e. the total amount of plastic waste they mismanage.

"Ahead of UN Plastic Treaty negotiations in Ottawa, we call for a steadfast pursuit of science-driven, robust global policy that matches the scale of the plastic pollution problem," added Perreard. "Let 2024 be the year we pivot to a trajectory that embraces reduction, ensuring the legacy we leave is not one buried in plastic.”

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