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Plastic waste and pollution (including marine plastic litter and microplastic) have captured the attention around the world. Approximately 6,300 million tonnes of plastic are estimated to have reached end-of life since the start of mass production in the 1950s, with the considerable majority of this not recycled or used for energy recovery but accumulating in landfills and the environment.
Concerted and ambitious action is required from all actors in the value chain to transition from a wasteful linear system to a new model where plastics stay at their highest value within the economy. Opportunities to build circularity in plastics have been identified across the entire value chain, including innovations on alternatives, designs of reusable products and designs to improve rates of recycling, business models for efficient collection, demand for recycled content, etc.
UN Environment promotes such a circularity approach in relevant initiatives we are working on, including the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, the Global Partnership on Marine Litter and its Clean Seas campaign, and the Global Plastics Platform.
Click below to learn about UNEP experience in building circularity: