Let's end the age of plastic

This is indeed what the 21st century is to be called - and unfortunately rightly so. Plastic in the Arctic, on the highest peaks and in the deepest deep sea, in the stomach and in the brain - so why not... The UN is now trying to develop a global agreement against plastic pollution.


An important part of this is setting the reduction target for production.

The umbrella organization of 30 European science academies (EASAC) has now published ten recommendations for this essential topic in a press release.

It clearly shows that we have literally been drowning in plastic since its triumph in the 1960s.

The Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW) is also a member of the Vienna-based umbrella organization, whose report states that more than 353 million tonnes of plastic waste were produced in 2019.


Without drastic measures, plastic waste will triple by 2060

Both manufacturers and consumers are simply not taking enough responsibility, according to the scientists.

An international plastics agreement, which is due to come into force in 2025, is urgently needed.

According to the researchers, the idea that plastic is cheap is "rather naive".

"The cost of waste management and the social, environmental and health costs amount to billions, if not trillions of dollars - many times the actual production costs," says Norwegian chemist Lars Walløe of EASAC.


Reduction in production and consumption

As both consumers and companies do not take responsibility on their own, political decisions must be made.

The consortium has now decided that it is time to "make the polluters pay", as voluntary commitments or market mechanisms are clearly not enough to solve the problem.

"We need to put an end to today's uncontrolled growth and throwaway mentality. Even if recycling increases, until the treaty sets a target to reduce plastic production, it will still not be possible to collect and recycle more than a small fraction of end-of-life products," said Michael Norton, Director of the EASAC Environment Program.

Only a combination of reducing production and consumption can bring success.

Facts on global plastic consumption

A small excerpt of the recommendations:

  • all plastic materials should be reusable, recyclable or compostable
  • they should be kept in circulation for as long as possible
  • all external costs, such as environmental, social and health costs, must be included in the price of new products
  • the deliberate addition of microplastics to products must be banned
  • Incentives (other than a better world) must be created for companies to work together on deposit systems


By reducing demand by 30 percent and increasing the recycling rate to 20 percent, plastic pollution would be reduced by 80 percent by 2040. 💚