CO2 emissions from plastic products manufacturing in the UK 1990-2018

The UK’s plastic product manufacturing sector has seen carbon dioxide emissions decrease 40 percent during the period in question. Between 1990 and 2012, emissions dropped to 2.2 million metric tons, but saw levels increase in the following years. By 2018 emissions had dropped back down to 2.7 million metric tons.

Plastics production

Plastic materials production amounted to 1.7 million metric tons in 2015. This was a noticeable decrease when compared to the previous year. Europe is a significant player in the global production of plastic materials. In 2018 it had a total share of 17 percent, behind only China and NAFTA, who had a combined share of just under 50 percent.  

Other environmental impacts of plastic

   Emissions are not the only impact that plastic has on the environment. In recent years the industry has faced a public backlash over waste, especially marine waste. More concerns have arisen recently as countries such as China introduced bans on plastic waste from foreign countries. China was the main destination for UK plastic waste, but since the ban the country has had to look elsewhere.

Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the manufacture of plastic products in the United Kingdom (UK) from 1990 to 2018

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Release date

June 2020


United Kingdom

Survey time period

1990 to 2018

Supplementary notes

Sector classification is based on the NACE code, which is the industry standard classification system for economic activities in the European Community.

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