Plastic Fuels the Climate Crisis

About the Campaign

Climate breakdown is fueled by the myth that we can keep taking, making and wasting finite resources. It’s time we exposed the fossil fuel industries behind the plastic and climate crises, and make zero waste part of the climate solution!

Plastic is made from fossil fuels, by the very same companies causing the climate crisis. If we are to reach the 1.5-degree target in the Paris Agreement, we need an international effort to reduce its production. Zero waste systems are an effective, affordable, inclusive, and proven strategy to help prevent climate catastrophe. If we act now we can tackle our waste and climate crises while creating better jobs, more resilient cities, and a liveable future for all. Close to 300 organizations from around the world have signed onto the call demanding that our leaders transition to a fossil-free, zero waste future!


Of plastic is made of fossil fuels.


Of global greenhouse gas emissions comes from the materials economy, from extraction to manufacturing to disposal. 


of the carbon budget will be used up by the plastic industry by 2100, according to current projections. 


As many jobs can be created through zero waste, compared with disposal.

Our Demands to World Leaders

Close the emissions gap and ensure global temperatures do not rise above 1.5ºC.

Exclude waste-to-energy incineration from national climate plans.

Stop petrochemical expansion, reduce plastic production, phase-out single-use plastic and packaging across different sectors, and leave fossil fuels in the ground.

What We Propose

Commit to reducing greenhouse gas emissions to zero, and ensure that everyone is included in the transition to a sustainable zero waste circular economy.

Invest in waste reduction measures and zero waste circular economy systems in national climate action plans, including reuse-based alternative product delivery systems.

Hold petrochemical and consumer goods companies accountable for plastic pollution and their enormous contribution to global heating.

Provide social protection and decent income for workers including waste pickers engaged in recycling, reuse, and waste prevention, recognizing their contribution to climate change mitigation, and protecting them from climate change impacts.

Learn More

WHY IS WASTE A CLIMATE ISSUE? | Learn more about why stopping plastic pollution and waste burning and transitioning to a zero waste circular economy is key to restoring a healthy climate.

Wasted Opportunities

Zero waste is an essential, affordable, and practical route to significant emissions reductions, yet is neglected in most countries’ climate plans (Nationally Determined Contributions or NDCs). Countries should focus on plastic reduction, waste separation, and compost to reduce climate emissions and generate good jobs.

Global Brand Audit Report 2021

If we want to halt climate change, we need to address the plastic crisis. That’s why the Break Free From Plastic movement is challenging the big companies fueling both plastic pollution and the climate crisis by leading brand audits.

Plastic is Carbon: Unwrapping the ‘Net Zero’ Myth

Under the cover of “net zero,” the plastics and petrochemical industry is trying to greenwash expanded plastic production. Plastic is carbon. It is bad for climate change and could never be a part of any realistic solution.

Plastic and Climate: The Hidden Costs of a Plastic Planet

Amidst growing concern about the impacts of plastic on the oceans, ecosystems, and human health, there’s another largely hidden dimension of the plastic crisis: its contribution to climate change.

The Climate Emergency Unpacked

Read the new Greenpeace Report on how consumer goods companies are fueling big oil’s plastic expansion, threatening our environment, climate, and communities around the world.

Zero Waste Cities: A Key Solution to the Climate Crisis

Cities account for 70% of global greenhouse gas emissions. The good news is that the solutions are out there, and cities around the world are moving towards zero waste.

People Over Plastic Podcast

Are you ready to come on a journey with the most powerful BIPOC voices fighting towards an anti-racist and plastic-free future? Listen to episodes on what’s at stake at the COP and the connection between climate justice and stopping plastic pollution.

Youth Ambassadors Call from Action from World Leaders

Youth may only be 18% of the population today, but they are 100% of the future. Read the Plastic Pollution Coalition Youth Ambassador’s demands of COP26 leaders.

Good Practice Guidance for Assessing the GHG Impacts of Waste Incineration

The evidence is clear: waste incinerators pose a major climate threat. Read GAIA member UKWIN’s latest report, watch their webinar, and find more of their research on the greenhouse gas emissions from waste incineration.

Three Zero Waste Strategies Toward Carbon Neutrality

Zero waste is a proven and powerful approach to combatting climate change that every country can adopt now. Learn more about three top approaches to reducing waste and carbon emissions.

The New Coal: Plastics and Climate Change

The U.S. plastics industry is on track to surpass the coal industry in speeding climate change by 2030. This report reveals that with regards to climate change, plastic is the new coal.

Blindspot: How Lack of Action on Livestock Methane Undermines Climate Targets

Changing Markets Foundation found that governments must embrace the full potential of emission reductions that could come from shifts to healthier diets with less and better meat and dairy.

Seven Solutions to Landfill Methane

Methane is a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, and much of it comes from organic waste in landfills. The good news is that we can solve this problem simply and easily through zero waste.