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Report: Companies’ plastic use costs environment $75bn each year

By Danny Bradbury

- Published on June 24, 2014 by Business Green

Consumer goods companies are costing the environment $75bn per year through their use of plastics, revealed a report released today.

"Valuing plastic", a report from the Plastic Disclosure Project, the UN Environment Programme and natural capital analysts Trucost, evaluates the environmental and social impact of plastics used by businesses. It assesses the financial cost to companies were they to be financially responsible for their plastics usage.

The food sector accounted for 23 per cent of this financial cost, which the report calls the natural capital cost, with the soft drinks industry following a distant second at 12 per cent.

Natural capital costs incurred by plastics came from a variety of sectors. Over 30 per cent of the costs stemmed directly from greenhouse gas emissions produced upstream through the extraction of raw materials and manufacturing of plastic feedstock.

"For a business person, the mix of types of impacts is just mind-boggling. Some impacts are toxic, some foul usable land, some physically kill animals, etc," Andrew Russell, the director of the Plastic Disclosure Project told BusinessGreen.


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