Data from manufacturers’ association Plastics Europe shows that 51 percent of the world's plastic was produced in Asia in 2018. China, responsible for 30 percent of the world's plastics production, produced 77 kg per capita, while the rest of Asia produced around 68 kg.
Japan, which produced 4 percent of the world's plastic that year had an especially high per-capita share at 114 kg per capita. Japan is also the country with the most plastic packaging waste per capita in the world behind the U.S., according to the U.N.
NAFTA countries produced only 18 percent of the world's plastic in total, but the equivalent of 132 kg per capita in 2018 - the most plastic per capita, followed by Japan, Europe (111 kg/capita), China and the rest of Asia.
Supermarkets in developed nations certainly tell the story of heavy plastic use, with many individually wrapped items and ready-to-go meals in single-use packaging on display. This is especially visible in Japan as well as the U.S. The Japanese government revealed a proposal in 2018 to reduce plastic waste by 25 percent until 2030. A mandatory fee for plastic shopping bags will start on July 1. Similar laws have already been implemented in 66 percent of countries worldwide. In Japan, though, the mandatory minimum fee per bag will be a very low 1 Yen (approximately one cent U.S.).