Packaging is the largest end use market segment accounting for just over 40% of total plastic usage. Over the last ten years we have produced more plastic than during the whole of the last century. Plastic accounts for around 10% of the total waste we generate.


The production of plastic uses an incredible amount of fossil fuels. Most estimates put the figure at around 8% of the world’s oil production, 4% of which is actually used in energy consumption to make the plastic.

In order to preserve precious fossil fuel energy reserves that our lives rely so heavily upon, we need to reduce our usage significantly and look at reuse, redesign and recycling of products as much as possible.


Toxic chemicals (including PCBs and DDTs) are absorbed by the plastic, increasing the concentration a million times. Plastic is breaking down into smaller and smaller pieces and entering the food chain and releasing chemicals into the fish that eat them.

Health effects linked to these chemicals are: cancer, diabetes, low sperm count, altered immune systems, genital defects, endocrine disruptors, rheumatoid arthritis, endometriosis, low birth weights.



At least one million seabirds, and one-hundred thousand marine mammals die each year due to plastic pollution. 

Plastic pollution is a carrier of invasive species, threatening native ecosystems.

Over 100 species of sea birds are known to ingest plastic artefacts.

Entanglement rates of up to 7.9% have been discovered in some species of seals and sea lions. 

A UNEP report estimates that around 130,000 cetaceans are caught in nets each year.


One estimate is that plastic pollution alone could be costing developing and industrialised nations up to $1.27 Billion annually as it threatens fishing, shipping and tourism.

The aesthetics of plastic waste along coastlines can affect tourism and the ‘well-being’ of local communities.  In 2010, the Cinque Terre region of Italy banned plastic bottles after it was estimated that 2 million were left behind by tourists every year.