The New Plastics Economy: Rethinking the future of plastics & catalysing action


Cheap, light, and versatile, plastics are the dominant materials of our modern economy. Their production is expected to double over the next two decades. Yet only 14% of all plastic packaging is collected for recycling after use and vast quantities escape into the environment. This not only results in a loss of USD 80 to 120 billion per year, but if the current trend continues, there could be more plastic than fish (by weight) in the ocean by 2050.

This report provides a new way of thinking about plastics as an effective global material flow aligned with the principles of the circular economy. It also defines an action plan for the global plastics industry to design better packaging, increase recycling rates, and introduce new models for making better use of packaging.

It combines the main insights from the two previously published reports by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation with the support of the World Economic Forum: The New Plastics Economy – Rethinking the future of plastics, in 2016, and The New Plastics Economy – Catalysing action, in 2017.

This report exists in French and English.

Visit the New Plastics Economy website


EN Report

Date of Publication: 13 December 2017

FR Report

Date de publication : 13 décembre 2017

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