Plastics: Facts and Futures: Moving beyond pollution management towards a circular plastics economy in South Africa
Year of Publication
The Plastics: Facts and Futures report provides an overview of the plastic pollution challenge in South Africa and proposes the necessary interventions to address it.
World Wildlife Fund (WWF)
Zaynab Sadan, Lorren de Kock
Purpose of Measurement:
Solution Sets and Impact Potential, Understanding the Problem
The Plastics: Facts and Futures report provides an overview of the plastic pollution challenge in South Africa and proposes the necessary interventions to address it. This report is aimed at researchers, industry actors, policymakers and interested individuals. It explores the environmental and socio-economic impacts of plastic pollution in the South African context, with a focus on plastic packaging as a major contributor. There are also plastic products beyond packaging that need to be given attention in Africa and South Africa and these are identified in the report. These products include hygiene products such as sanitary towels and nappies, cigarette butts and certain types of fishing gear, all of which are not currently well managed and add to plastic leakage into nature. The Plastics: Facts and Futures report aims not only to consolidate the mounting evidence to highlight the risks of a business-as-usual path but also to provide ideas for first steps and identify the levers to deliver significant positive impact in this complex system. This complexity means that no single organisation can solve the plastic pollution challenge by itself and that an inclusive, collaborative process with multiple stakeholders across the plastics value chain is needed, with a strong focus on prevention rather than mitigating impacts once they have already occurred. Addressing the plastic pollution crisis must not be done at the expense of other increasing environmental problems, but if done right, addressing plastic pollution will result in net positive environmental outcomes for our planet across a range of environmental and social stressors.