Since the 1950s, the production of plastic has outpaced that of almost every other material. Much of the plastic we produce is designed to be thrown away after being used only once. As a result, plastic packaging accounts for about half of the plastic waste in the world. Most of this waste is generated in Asia, while America, Japan and the European Union are the world’s largest producers of plastic packaging waste per capita. The most common single-use plastics found in the environment are, in order of magnitude, cigarette butts, plastic drinking bottles, plastic bottle caps, food wrappers, plastic grocery bags, plastic lids, straws and stirrers, other types of plastic bags, and foam take-away containers. These are the waste products of a throwaway culture that treats plastic as a disposable material rather than a valuable resource to be harnessed.

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Brenda Koekkoek

Brenda Koekkoek is a Programme Manager at the Secretariat of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee to develop an international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution, including in the marine environment.

Carolyn Deere Birkbeck

Carolyn Deere Birkbeck is a Senior Researcher at the Graduate Institute’s Global Governance Centre and Director of the Forum on Trade, Environment & the SDGs (TESS).

David Azoulay

David Azoulay is the Managing Attorney of the Center for International Environmental Law’s (CIEL) Geneva Office and the Director of CIEL’s Environmental Health Program.

Delphine Garin

Delphine Garin is the manager of Plastics & Packaging at the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.

João Sousa

João Sousa is the Senior Programme Officer of Marine Plastics, Global Marine and Polar Programme at the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Kristin Hughes

Kristin Hughes is the Director of the Global Plastic Action Partnership and a member of the Executive Committee of the World Economic Forum.

Marco Lambertini

Marco Lambertini is Special Envoy of WWF International.