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OECD: Only 9pc of plastic recycled worldwide


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Less than 10 percent of the plastic used across the world is recycled, the OECD said yesterday, calling for "coordinated and global solutions" ahead of expected talks on an international plastics treaty.

A new report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development report found that 460 million tonnes of plastics were used in 2019, the number nearly doubling since 2000.

The amount of plastic waste had more than doubled during that time to 353 million tonnes, the Paris-based OECD said.

"After taking into account losses during recycling, only nine percent of plastic waste was ultimately recycled, while 19 percent was incinerated and almost 50 percent went to sanitary landfills," it said in its Global Plastics Outlook.

"The remaining 22 percent was disposed of in uncontrolled dumpsites, burned in open pits or leaked into the environment."

The Covid-19 pandemic saw the use of plastics drop by 2.2 percent in 2020 compared to the previous year. However single-use plastics rose and overall use is "projected to pick up again" as the economy rebounds.

Plastics contributed 3.4 percent of global greenhouse emissions in 2019, 90 percent of it from "production and conversion from fossil fuels", the report said.

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