Worldwide Plastic Production and Mismanaged Plastic Waste Statistics


In 1950 the world produced only 2 million tonnes of plastic per year. Since then, annual production has increased nearly 200-fold, reaching 381 million tonnes in 2015. For context, this is roughly equivalent to the mass of two-thirds of the world population. By 2015, the world had produced a total of 7.8 billion tonnes of plastic — more than one tonne of plastic for every person alive today.

Whilst high-income countries tend to have effective waste management infrastructure, they can contribute to plastics pollution by littering and also exporting their waste to countries that lack proper waste management. Today, the East Asia and Pacific region dominates global mismanaged plastic waste, accounting for 60% of the world total. There is a wide gap between East Asia and the other regions — South Asia ranks second but contributes around 5 times less with 11% of the total. This is followed by Sub-Saharan Africa (9%); Middle East & North Africa (8.3%); Latin America (7.2%); Europe and Central Asia (3.6%) and North America (1%).

Did you know that it’s estimated there are more than 5 trillion plastic particles in the world's surface waters today?

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