The consumption of single-use plastic around the world continues to increase despite campaigns against the destructive way of consumption. The recently released report warns that if plastic production and use is not stopped, it will expedite the effects of climate change.
Every stage of plastic production involves the burning of fossil fuels. From the beginning of its production, down to the process that helps refine it into various shapes and uses and even up to how it is managed as waste, plastic products harm the environment in more ways than one.
Furthermore, this continued use of plastics threatens the capacity of governments to meet the agreements they have set in the Paris climate forum, with the goal to reduce and eventually eliminate the usage of plastic by the year 2050.
The authors behind the report from the Center for International Environmental Law say that the impacts of plastic production and disposal to the effects of climate change has been discussed by manufacturers and business owners.
However, the production of plastic by manufacturers is often ignored as the focus always lands on the carbon footprint that huge factories and industries have. Still, experts point out the importance of keeping the public aware that every piece of plastic carries with it a carbon footprint of its own, from material preparation, production, and long after the piece of plastic is thrown out after being used.
"After the fossil fuel is extracted to produce the single-use plastic, the carbon footprint of such material only continues as it takes its shape into a drinking bottle or a plastic grocery bag. Until it is no longer used, the afterlife of the plastic only makes the environmental condition worse," the report says.
The authors have identified that the plastic found in most fast-moving consumer goods, as well as those used for packaging, are the biggest contributors to the growing problem on single-use plastic. The report is calling the industry to stem its production and reconsider the use of all throwaway plastic materials.
"With the plastic industry and the continued use of petrochemicals along with its massive plans for expansion, the problem on global warming will only get worse," the report says.
Carroll Muffett, one of the lead authors of the study said that "it has always been clear how plastic threatens the environment. It also puts human health at great risk. This report only shows how great of a problem plastic is and how it puts the climate at risk as well."