Countries that generate the most plastic waste – 24/7 Wall St.

Special report

Plastics, plastics, everywhere – and much of the plastic products we use and throw away end up as trash in our landfills and waterways. the American Board of Chemistry recorded 35.7 million tonnes of plastic production in the United States in 2018. That same year, plastics accounted for 12.2% of municipal solid waste production, with 14.8 tonnes attributed to containers and packaging alone. single use (bags, bags, bottles, jars), the US Environmental Protection Agency reported.

The American Chemistry Council notes that 96% of all manufactured products have a direct link with the chemicals sector, which is not surprising when you consider the amount of plastic in everyday items. See the 50 banks enabling the single-use plastic crisis.

Plastics cover a wide range of synthetic polymeric materials (a substance with large molecules) and associated additives made from petrochemical, natural or biological gas raw materials with thermoplastic, thermosetting or elastomeric properties. You’ll find plastics in everything from packaging and building and construction materials, to household and sports equipment, as well as vehicles, electronics and agriculture.

Excess plastic becomes waste when the product is intentionally or unintentionally put out of use and entered a waste stream as part of a waste management process or released into the environment.

Plastic waste in the environment is generally characterized by its size. Plastic waste is part of solid waste, which is defined as all residential, commercial and institutional waste. Solid waste excludes all discarded industrial, medical, hazardous, electronic, construction and demolition materials. (It is the company that produces the most plastic waste in the world.)

Despite recycling efforts, little plastic is reused or reused in the United States In 2018, around 3 million tonnes were recycled for a recycling rate of 8.7%, the EPA estimates. However, some items, such as PET (polyethylene terephthalate) bottles and jars and natural HDPE (high density polyethylene) bottles each have a recycling rate of almost 30%. So at least we recycle some plastic items.

To find out how much plastic waste is generated by countries, 24/7 Wall St. looked at “Counting the role of the United States in global ocean plastic waste”(2021), a study published by The National Academies Press. Countries are classified according to the annual production of plastic waste (in kilograms) per capita.

Of the 20 countries and one region examined, the United States generated the most plastic waste in 2016. US production of plastic waste totaled 42 million metric tonnes, or 130.9 kg (288.6 pounds) per capita . China and India generated about half of the total amount of plastic waste for a much lower per capita figure.

Five of the six countries generating the least plastic waste per capita are in Asia, while the 10 countries generating the most plastic waste per capita include several European countries and the United States. % of total waste among countries on the list.

The United States also generates the most waste in total, at a rate of 4.5 to 6 pounds per person per day. This is two to eight times more than many other countries. The United States generated more than 320 million tonnes of waste in total, about 100 million tonnes more than China and 43 million tonnes more than India. Collectively, the EU-28 generated almost 244 million tonnes of waste.

Click here to see plastic waste production values ​​in all countries

Bryce K. Locke