Jun 3, 2022 - Energy & Environment

Global plastic waste expected to nearly triple by 2060

An environmental activist collects plastic waste scattered at a mangrove conservation site on Dupa Beach, Palu City, Central Sulawesi Province, Indonesia on May 13, 2022.
An environmental activist collects plastic waste on Dupa Beach, Palu City, Central Sulawesi Province, Indonesia, on May 13. Photo: Basri Marzuki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Global plastic waste is set to nearly triple by 2060, according to a report by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development out Friday.

Driving the news: About half of the plastic waste produced globally is expected to end up in a landfill and less than a fifth is expected to be recycled, OECD found.

  • Plus, plastic consumption is set to rise from 460 million metric tons in 2019 to 1,230 in 2060 without aggressive action to curb demand, the OECD estimates.
  • Almost two-thirds of plastic waste in 2060 will be from short-lived items, including packaging and low-cost products, the report finds.
  • Growth will be fastest in developing countries in Africa and Asia, but OECD countries, including the U.S., are still expected to produce much more plastic waste per person, the organization said.

What to watch: The share of plastic waste that is successfully recycled is projected to rise to 17% in 2060 from 9% in 2019, the OECD said.

What they're saying: "If we want a world that is free of plastic pollution, in line with the ambitions of the United Nations Environment Assembly, we will need to take much more stringent and globally co-ordinated action," OECD Secretary-General Mathias Cormann said in a statement.

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