The OECD said on February 22, 2022 that less than 10% of the plastics used worldwide are recycled, and called for the implementation of a "coordinated global solution" before the negotiation of an international plastics treaty.
A new report from the organization for economic cooperation and development found that 460 million tons of plastics were used worldwide in 2019, which has almost doubled since 2000.
The Paris based OECD said that during this period, the amount of plastic waste more than doubled to 353 million tons.
"After taking into account the losses in the recycling process, only 9% of plastic waste is eventually recycled, 19% is incinerated and nearly 50% is sent to sanitary landfills," the company said in its global plastics outlook.
"The remaining 22% are discarded in uncontrolled landfills, burned in the open air or leaked into the environment."
Compared with the previous year, the covid-19 pandemic reduced plastic use by 2.2% in 2020. However, with the economic rebound, the use of disposable plastics has increased, and the overall use is "expected to rise again".
According to the report, plastics accounted for 3.4% of global greenhouse gas emissions in 2019, of which 90% came from "the production and conversion of fossil fuels".
Mathias Coleman, Secretary General of OECD, said in his report that in the face of rampant global warming and pollution, "it is very important for countries to meet the challenges with coordinated global solutions".
The OECD has put forward a series of "levers" to solve this problem, including the development of the renewable plastics market, which currently accounts for only 6% of the total - mainly for economic reasons.
It added that new technologies related to reducing the environmental footprint of plastics accounted for only 1.2% of all innovations in the product.
While calling for a "more circular plastic life cycle", the OECD said policies must also limit overall consumption.
It also called for "significant investment in basic waste management infrastructure", including 25 billion euros per year in plastic treatment in low - and middle-income countries.
Plastic treaty negotiations
The report was released less than a week before the opening of the United Nations Environment Conference in Nairobi on February 28. It is expected that formal talks will begin on the future international plastic treaty to discuss the scope of plastic control.
Shardul Agrawala, head of the OECD's Department of environment and economic integration, said the report "further emphasizes the need for countries to unite and begin to seek a global agreement to address this very important issue".
Asked about the treaty priorities to be discussed in Nairobi, she said that "waste management is the most urgent issue, which is the cause of most environmental leakage and pollution".
"But we should not focus on single solutions. In the long run, we need to establish international cooperation and agreed standards," she said at an online news conference on Monday