In numbers: how the tide is turning against plastic

Plastic waste has shot up the social and political agendas. What are the numbers behind the headlines?


Rosie Carrow

Rosie Carrow

Content writer

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It is an issue which so far this year has captured headlines and shot up the social and political agenda worldwide: how do we cut down on plastic waste?

Responding to growing public concern, in April the UK government committed £60 million to fight the rising tide of plastic pollution. In the same month, dozens of retailers and manufacturers – including giants such as Coca-Cola and Asda – signed a voluntary pledge to cut plastic packaging in Britain.

It was later suggested that certain single-use products, such as cottonbuds or wet wipes, could face an outright ban. The following charts highlight in numbers some of the problems posed by plastic - and our growing concern about the issue.

How long do these items take to decompose? Styrofoam cup - 50 years, nappy - 450 years

How much european waste is recycled? plastic packaging - 40%

concern about plastic waste reaches historical highs. Google searches are up from 70 in 2017 to 95 in 2018


Rosie Carrow

Rosie Carrow

Content writer

This article is issued by Cazenove Capital which is part of the Schroders Group and a trading name of Schroder & Co. Limited, 1 London Wall Place, London EC2Y 5AU. Authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. 

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This document may include forward-looking statements that are based upon our current opinions, expectations and projections. We undertake no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements. Actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in the forward-looking statements.

All data contained within this document is sourced from Cazenove Capital unless otherwise stated.