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Mapping of Global Plastics Value Chain and Plastics Losses to the Environment: With a Particular Focus on Marine Environment

Plastics have become one of the most ubiquitous materials used globally, and global production has on average
increased by about 9% per year since 1950.The plastic industry has become a major economic actor with revenue of about 1,722 billion Euros in 2015. The issue of plastics ending up in the oceans and harming marine lifeforms has been known since the 1970s. Research focusing on the impacts associated with exposure of organisms to marine micro and macroplastics has been ongoing for years. However, studies linking the processes in the plastic value chain to plastics being released to the oceans are only starting to emerge.

This report provides a comprehensive global mapping of plastic losses to the environment throughout the plastic value chain using 2015 as the reference year. This mapping covers plastic production and processing, use of plastics or plastic containing products, and disposal of the products. It differentiates 23 types of plastics and 13 plastic applications, including division between macro- and micro-plastics (including microbeads and microfibers).