Is this issue insurmountable: the continuing problems with plastic waste? Often, it sure seems like it.
To begin, take a look at these two posts. One is rather negative. While the other is more upbeat:
Single-Use Packaging: The Continuing Problems with Plastic Waste
For the current discussion, we rely on two 2021 articles by Statista. Per capita single-use waste in selected countries. And the companies most responsible for single-use plastic waste.
Per Capita Single-Use Plastic Waste by Country
As Niall McCarthy reports for Statista:
[Research by the Minderoo Foundation] looked into the countries generating the most single-use plastic waste per capita. With Australia one of the very worst ranked. In 2019, the average Australian generated 59 kg of bottles, packaging, and other plastic waste. While the United States came in second in with 53 kg. The problem was not as pronounced in the world’s most populous nations. China and India only generated 19 kg and 4 kg, respectively.
Check out the following Statista chart.
Companies Most Responsible for Single-Use Plastic Waste
Also from McCarthy for Statista:
Minderoo’s Plastic Waste Makers Index analyzed 1,000 factories to determine the companies producing the most single-use plastic waste. The research found that 20 companies were responsible for generating 55 percent of all single-use plastic waste in 2019. The main offenders? The petrochemical giants that produce polymer materials. They become everything from plastic bottles to face masks. ExxonMobil was the biggest worst producer. During 2019, it generated 5.9 million metric tons of single-use plastic waste. Next on the list were Dow and Sinopec. They generated 5.6 million tons and 5.3 million tons, respectively.
For the “top” eight, read the Statista chart below.