2. Plastic waste
Single-use plastics are goods that are made
primarily from fossil fuel–based chemicals
(petrochemicals) and are meant to be disposed of
right after use—often, in mere minutes. Single-use
plastics are most commonly used for packaging and
serviceware, such as bottles, wrappers, straws, and
Plastic is among the most popular and important
materials used in the modern world. Due to the fact
that plastic is non-biodegradable, it is essential that
it is prevented, recycled or recovered.
3. Why Is Single-Use Plastic Bad?
We produce 300 million tons of plastic each year worldwide, half of
which is for single-use items. That’s nearly equivalent to the weight of
the entire human population.
Reducing plastic use is the most effective means of avoiding this waste
(and the impacts linked to plastic production and use). Carrying
reusable bags and bottles is one great way to avoid single-use plastics
in our day-to-day lives.Not only does banning single-use plastic
reduce pollution, but it also reduces demand for plastic production
that’s contributing to global climate change. But beyond these impacts,
the bans have cultural effects. Companies are forced to innovate,
rethinking their designs and sourcing sustainable materials. And they
help shift consumer mind-sets, as people begin to recognize that
exorbitant and avoidable waste is not sustainable.
4. Single-Use Plastics and Pollution
Although single-use plastic pollution accumulates most visibly on our
streets, in fact our water suffers even more. Litter can be the first stage
in a waste stream that enters waterways as plastics tossed on the street
are washed away by rain or travel via storm drains into rivers and
streams. Our waterway plastic pollution is particularly concentrated:
Just ten rivers carry 93 percent of the world’s total amount of plastic
that enters the oceans via rivers each year.
Marine animals bear the burden of this influx of garbage into their
habitats. Beached whales have been found with stomachs full of plastic
trash. And recent studies found plastic in the guts of 90 percent of the
seabirds tested and 100 percent of the turtles. Alarmingly, scientists
estimate that there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by weight
in 2050. Not only is plastic estimated to kill millions of marine animals
and seabirds each year, but it’s also contaminating seafood that
humans have relied on for millennia, particularly with microplastics in
6. Prevention action I
European Union (2018): Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy. Mandatory fee on single use
plastic bags, phase-out of single use bags. By 2030 only reusable or recyclable plastic packaging,
75% recycling of packaging waste, and a binding agreement to reduce landfill to < 10% of MSW.
Plan to strengthen packaging legislation, and establish specific rules for the 10 plastic products most
often found on beaches and in seas.
Chile (2019-2020): Plan for national plastic bag ban. Plans to coordinate beach cleanups.
China: National ban of single-use plastic bags with high company fines
Morocco (2016): Full ban of plastic bags with high fines
Rwanda (2008): Strict plastic bag ban with penalties and fines
Kenya (2017): country-wide ban of plastic bags with high fines or penalty
India (2018): commitment to phase-out single-use plastics by 2022. 10 regional policies in place
Costa Rica (2021): plan to ban all single-use plastics (straws, bottles, cutlery, cups and bags)
7. Preventive action II
Alaska Airlines (2018): remove all non-recyclable plastic stir straws and citrus
Royal Caribbean Cruises (2018) : All 50 ships free of plastic straws. Paper, wood
and bamboo offered as alternative
Hilton (2018): Plan to phase out plastic straws from all 650 managed properties
by end of 2018. >5 million plastic straws and 20 million plastic water bottles
annually in Europe, Middle East & Africa
Hyatt Hotels (2018): Offer straws and picks only on request, and switch to eco-
Starbucks (2018): plans to eliminate single-use straws globally from all 28,000
company operated/licensed stores (1 billion/year) by making a strawless lid or
alternative-material straw options available.
Ikea: plans to phase out all single-use plastic products from stores and restaurants
b 2020 (straws, plates, cups, freezer bags, bin bags, and plastic-coated paper
plates and cups)
8. Recycling – state of play
Around 50 % of plastics are thrown away just after a single use
Established curbside recycling programs for PET, HDPE, and PVC
Generally no recycling for (E)PS, PP, and LDPE, but initiatives to develop recycling for PP.
Product design initiatives for fully recyclable mono-materials (e.g. Standup pouch from
Recycling plastic takes 88 percent less energy than producing plastics from new raw
There is now 5.25 trillion macro and micro pieces of plastic in our ocean & 46,000 pieces
in every square mile of ocean, weighing up to 269,000 tonnes. Every day around 8 million
pieces of plastic makes their way into our oceans.
Plastics accounted for 12% of total global waste generation in 2016.
Plastics can take hundreds of years to degrade
The plastics that end up in the oceans break down into small pieces and every year around
100,000 marine mammals and one million seabirds are killed by this pollution.
9. Avoiding Single-Use Plastics
Making just one simple swap, like purchasing a reusable water bottle, can spare the
environment hundreds of plastic bottles each year. Here are a few more tips for ridding your
life (and your community) of single-use plastics for good.
• Always pack a reusable bag when shopping. (And yes—reusable totes are better for the
environment than plastics, recent media claims aside.)
• Cook more often, to reduce your use of plastic-heavy takeout containers.
• Buy in bulk. Avoid individually packaged goods, like snack packs.
• Though buying online sometimes has a lower carbon footprint than shopping in a store
(skip the express delivery option, if you can), online shipments are still chock-full of plastic.
Your best bet to reduce your footprint and plastic waste? Walk, bike, or take public transit to
• Avoid plastic wrap altogether by storing leftovers in reusable containers. Try reusable and
compostable beeswax wrap for an easy and decorative option.
11. ◦ India is working on a national policy aimed at completely phasing out
single-use plastics by the second half of 2022, taking into account varied
paces of compliance across states over the past five years.
◦ In a draft notification issued on 13 March 2021, the country’s Ministry of
Environment, Forests and Climate Change is looking at a three-phased ban
on the manufacture, use, sale, import and handing of single-use plastic
◦ The policy is up for public consultation of 60 days from the release of the
◦ “The manufacturers and brand owners of the plastic products are being
given adequate time to find alternatives like compostable plastic or other
environment friendly products,” a ministry official said.
◦ The proposed policy, however, is widely expected to be met with strong
opposition from plastics manufacturers across the country.
◦ In the draft regulation, the first phase of the ban will take effect on 30
September 2021 and will require carry bags made of virgin or recycled
plastic should have a thickness of more than 120 microns, but this will not
apply to bags made up of compostable plastic.
◦ Increasing the thickness of plastic bags is expected to substantially improve
collection and recycling of used carry-bags, the government source said.
12. ◦ Larger cities like Mumbai saw an increase in the thickness of plastic carry bags and better
access to recycled plastic.
◦ Compostable or biodegradable plastic, however, is not as cheap as regular plastic which
hinders implementation of these bans across India over the years.
◦ The second stage of implementation is expected on 1 January 2022, in which six
categories of single-use plastic - including earbuds with plastic sticks, plastic sticks for
balloons, plastic flags, candy sticks, ice-cream sticks and polystyrene (PS) for decoration -
will be banned.
◦ By the third stage from 1 July 2022, the ban on single-use plastics should be complete. It
will cover plastic plates, glasses, cutlery (plastic forks, spoons, knives, trays), plastic
stirrers, packaging films on sweet boxes, invitation cards, cigarette packets,
plastic/polyvinyl chloride (PVC) banners with thickness of less than 100 microns.
◦ From 2018 onward, around 19 states have imposed bans on single-use plastic which are
being implemented with varying degrees of success.
◦ Maharashtra was one of the first states to impose the ban in March 2018.
◦ Previous attempts to impose a national ban on single-use plastics in October 2019 were
unsuccessful following strong opposition from the plastics industry.
◦ This time, the South Asian emerging economic giant was hoping to complete the task
before it celebrates its 75th founding anniversary on 15 August 2022.