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External Costs of Pollution from Plastic

GCSE, AS, A-Level, IB
AQA, Edexcel, OCR, IB, Eduqas, WJEC

Last updated 5 Oct 2018

There is growing and widespread evidence of the damage caused by plastic pollution especially in oceans.

  • One truckload of plastic is dumped into the ocean every minute
  • By 2050, the weight of plastic will likely outweigh that of fish
  • Only a small amount of plastic is currently recycled
  • Plastic marine litter disintegrates into tiny pieces and ends up in food
Externalities from plastic

Examples of government policy interventions to address the problem of plastic pollution

  1. Banning microbeads from consumer products
  2. Bans on plastic cotton buds and other products
  3. Plastic bag charge/ tax to reduce single use bags
  4. Encourage businesses to develop recyclable polymers
  5. Provide free drinking water in cafes / restaurants / public places
  6. Refundable deposit schemes on plastic bottles

Market failure analysis diagram

A Level Economics Synoptic Essay Guide: Plastic Tax - revision video

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