Plastics Poison People and Pollute the Planet

IPEN’s microsite shows how hazardous plastics production drives the pressing environmental threat of plastics’ multiple and myriad sources of pollution. Learn how plastic pollution impacts our ecosystems, health, and people, driving major injustice and health disparities.

The Making Reuse a Reality Report brings together research and key evidence from interviews. The report provides a comprehensive analysis of reuse strategies, drawing on a diverse range of global perspectives and experience. Reuse presents an opportunity to move away from the existing linear take-make-waste, single-use packaging economy. 

Plastic production and pollution is devastating our planet, and is set to triple by 2060. The Plastic Forecast, a project of The Minderoo Foundation, combines research on atmospheric plastic with daily weather forecasts to estimate the daily ‘plastic fall’ in an easy-to-understand weather report in an interactive microsite.

Review paper highlights key concerns with recycling and reusing plastic food packaging from often overlooked health-centered approach to coping with plastic pollution. Covers concerns about migration of hazardous chemicals into food packaging and their impacts on human health, especially from recycled plastics which can accumulate hazardous chemicals.

Ahead of the Global Plastics Treaty negotiations, Pacific Environment has released a report that underscores the serious threats of plastic pollution, and presents a new global model showing how the plastics and petrochemical industries will need to change in order to stay within the 1.5 degree Celsius target to secure a liveable and sustainable future.

Despite its climate and environmental impacts, plastic production and consumption is still growing. Petrochemicals are the number-one driver for global oil demand and will account for half of the oil consumption by 2050 per the International Energy Agency. Given current trends, the life cycle emissions of the plastics sector could exceed  the carbon budget by at least three times by 2050 and comprise 16% of the planetary boundary of 400 Gt CO2e.

This is why action needs to be taken now. Specifically, we must reduce plastic by at least 75% and phase out single-use plastic by 2040 in order to align the plastic industry with the 1.5 degree Celsius climate target.

The report, titled “Stemming the Plastic-Climate Crisis: Paris Alignment for Plastics Requires at least 75% Reduction,” has been released to sound the alarm on plastics and start a discourse at the second session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC-2) in May 2023 emphasizing the need for a Global Plastics Treaty that actually reduces plastic.

Dangerous chemicals make their way into recycled plastic materials from a variety of sources. Since nearly all plastics are made from a combination of carbon (mainly oil/gas) and toxic chemicals, the most obvious pathway is direct contamination, as chemicals from the original plastic products simply transfer into recycled plastic. But chemicals can also enter recycled plastics in other ways, due to contamination in the plastic waste stream and the recycling process itself. This Greenpeace report shows us why plastics do not have a place in the circular economy, and in fact poison the circular economy.