7 Sept 2021
THE TRUE COST OF PLASTICS
By Kate Noble, WWF-Australia’s No Plastics in Nature Policy Manager
Plastic is. So cheap, companies literally give it away as gimmicks and promotions.
But the tiny price tag on plastic products ignores a whole lot of costs that are largely invisible, and for which governments, people and the planet are ultimately footing the bill.
In a groundbreaking piece of research, WWF and global consultancy firm Dalberg have worked together to estimate the, and the results are staggering.
Building on existing models and data, Dalberg calculates that the lifetime cost of plastic produced globally in just one year (2019) is around AU$5 trillion.
Of this, the cost met by Australia is around AU$17 billion, includingand .
These costs include not just the market price of virgin plastic production, but also the cost of , waste management costs and damage to marine ecosystems.
To put this into context, the lifetime global cost of plastic for just one year is more than the GDP of India.
What’s even more alarming is how quickly, driven by virgin plastics that are .
Our research estimates that without urgent action, plastic production is likely to double by 2040, and plastic pollution could triple by 2040.
That would put the lifetime cost of virgin plastic produced in 2040 at around AU$10 trillion, more than the GDP of Germany, Canada, and Australia in 2019 combined.
The good news is,, we can curb the tide of plastic production and pollution and make a serious dent in this dire problem.
While many countries around the world – including Australia – are making progress in reducing plastic use and increasing recycling, we also need to be committed about a global framework to tackle this global problem.
, and we’re about to reach a critical point in that process.
In February 2022, UN member states will vote on a resolution that would start work on the treaty next year. With the true cost of plastic pollution mounting daily, andin less than six months, there’s no time to waste.
Please, add your voice to the call for a treaty.