Special Report

Companies That Produce the Most Plastic Waste Around the World

China Photos / Stringer / Getty Images

Single-use plastic may one day be viewed much like cigarettes are today: something once considered a relatively harmless habit that evolves culturally into a reviled threat to public health despite decades of effort by manufacturers and their political allies to downplay its harm.  

Until the time comes when enough people recognize the environmental damages caused by their unabashed embrace of single-use disposable plastics, landfills and natural habitats will continue to be inundated with this petroleum-based byproduct of modern consumer convenience. (You might be surprised by the size of household waste in 50 countries around the world.)

Plastic recycling programs are better than nothing, but they’re hardly panaceas. A 2019 peer-reviewed study in the journal Science Advances concluded that only 9% of plastic gets recycled — and that most of the rest ends up in the oceans. Worse still, production of single-use plastics is predicted by some sources to increase by 30% over the next five years.

Producers of consumer products are the main culprits of single-use plastic waste. Break Free from Plastic, a global network of environmentalists that audits discarded plastic waste, names Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and Nestlé as the top global polluters of plastic waste. But companies like this don’t actually produce the raw materials that become your shampoo bottle, single-serving water, or takeaway food container and utensils. The raw materials for these and other disposable consumer plastics are pellet-sized polymers produced by the global petroleum industry. (Here are 30 easy ways to be more environmentally friendly.)

Click here to see the companies that produce the most plastic waste around the world.

To identify the companies generating the most waste from single use plastic manufacturing, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data in “The Plastic Waste Makers Index,” published this year by  the Minderoo Foundation, an Australia-based philanthropy. Companies are ranked on the plastic waste generated in 2019, measured in millions of tons (converted from the metric tons used in the report). Annual revenue and profit figures, for the most recent available year, came from the Forbes Global 2000, a list of the world’s largest 2,000 public companies in the world, as well as from publicly available financial documents. (Profit and revenue figures reported in a foreign currency were converted to U.S. dollars.) 

Source: Miladfarhani / CC BY-SA 3.0 / Wikimedia Commons

50. Bakhtar Petrochemical
> Single-use plastic waste generated in 2019: 0.6 million tons
> Country: Iran
> Annual revenue: N/A
> Annual profit: N/A

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Source: vladispas / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

49. MOL Hungarian Oil and Gas
> Single-use plastic waste generated in 2019: 0.6 million tons
> Country: Hungary
> Annual revenue: $13 billion
> Annual profit: -$51.8 million

Source: China Photos / Stringer / Getty Images

48. JBF Industries
> Single-use plastic waste generated in 2019: 0.6 million tons
> Country: India
> Annual revenue: N/A
> Annual profit: N/A

Source: David Silverman / Staff / Getty Images

47. Octal
> Single-use plastic waste generated in 2019: 0.6 million tons
> Country: Oman
> Annual revenue: N/A
> Annual profit: N/A

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Source: brazzo / iStock via Getty Images

46. Oil and Natural Gas Corporation
> Single-use plastic waste generated in 2019: 0.6 million tons
> Country: India
> Annual revenue: $48.4 billion
> Annual profit: $19.3 billion

Source: Hoseoklee88 / CC BY-SA 3.0 / Wikimedia Commons

45. SK Innovation Co
> Single-use plastic waste generated in 2019: 0.6 million tons
> Country: South Korea
> Annual revenue: $29 billion
> Annual profit: -$1.8 billion

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Source: Peter Macdiarmid / Staff / Getty Images

44. Nan Ya Plastics Corporation
> Single-use plastic waste generated in 2019: 0.6 million tons
> Country: Taiwan
> Annual revenue: $10.3 billion
> Annual profit: $1.5 billion

Source: SOMNATH MAHATA / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

43. Indian Oil Corporation
> Single-use plastic waste generated in 2019: 0.7 million tons
> Country: India
> Annual revenue: $48.9 billion
> Annual profit: $651.5 million

Source: robwilson39 / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

42. Repsol
> Single-use plastic waste generated in 2019: 0.7 million tons
> Country: Spain
> Annual revenue: $37.9 billion
> Annual profit: -$3.7 billion

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Source: Ralf Roletschek / CC BY 3.0 / Wikimedia Commons

41. Yanchang Group
> Single-use plastic waste generated in 2019: 0.7 million tons
> Country: China
> Annual revenue: N/A
> Annual profit: N/A

Source: Rocielma / CC BY-SA 4.0 / Wikimedia Commons

40. Eni
> Single-use plastic waste generated in 2019: 0.7 million tons
> Country: Italy
> Annual revenue: $50.1 billion
> Annual profit: -$9.8 billion

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Source: Justin Sullivan / Staff / Getty Images

39. Zhejiang Hengyi Group
> Single-use plastic waste generated in 2019: 0.7 million tons
> Country: China
> Annual revenue: N/A
> Annual profit: N/A

38. Sasol
> Single-use plastic waste generated in 2019: 0.7 million tons
> Country: South Africa
> Annual revenue: $11.1 billion
> Annual profit: -$4.9 billion

Source: Kakidai / CC BY-SA 3.0 / Wikimedia Commons

37. Mitsui Chemicals
> Single-use plastic waste generated in 2019: 0.7 million tons
> Country: Japan
> Annual revenue: $11.2 billion
> Annual profit: $410.4 million

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Source: David Paul Morris / Stringer / Getty Images

36. Westlake Chemical Corporation
> Single-use plastic waste generated in 2019: 0.7 million tons
> Country: United States
> Annual revenue: $7.5 billion
> Annual profit: $329.0 million

Source: Courtesy of LG Chem

35. LG Chem
> Single-use plastic waste generated in 2019: 0.8 million tons
> Country: South Korea
> Annual revenue: $25.8 billion
> Annual profit: $434.5 million

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Source: Courtesy of GAIL

34. GAIL India
> Single-use plastic waste generated in 2019: 0.8 million tons
> Country: India
> Annual revenue: $8 billion
> Annual profit: $1.1 billion

Source: Courtesy of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company

33. Abu Dhabi National Oil Company
> Single-use plastic waste generated in 2019: 0.9 million tons
> Country: United Arab Emirates
> Annual revenue: N/A
> Annual profit: N/A

Source: Courtesy of SIBUR

32. SIBUR
> Single-use plastic waste generated in 2019: 0.9 million tons
> Country: Russia
> Annual revenue: $7 billion
> Annual profit: $1.3 billion

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Source: Courtesy of Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation

31. Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation
> Single-use plastic waste generated in 2019: 0.9 million tons
> Country: Japan
> Annual revenue: $30 billion
> Annual profit: -$655.9 million

Source: China Photos / Stringer / Getty Images

30. Rongsheng Group
> Single-use plastic waste generated in 2019: 0.9 million tons
> Country: China
> Annual revenue: $14 billion
> Annual profit: $858.1 million

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Source: Wang Meng / iStock via Getty Images

29. China Coal
> Single-use plastic waste generated in 2019: 0.9 million tons
> Country: China
> Annual revenue: $20.5 billion
> Annual profit: $775.1 million

Source: Courtesy of Hanwha Group

28. Hanwha Chemical
> Single-use plastic waste generated in 2019: 1.0 million tons
> Country: South Korea
> Annual revenue: $43.2 billion
> Annual profit: $181.2 million

Source: MattGush / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

27. Chevron Corporation
> Single-use plastic waste generated in 2019: 1.0 million tons
> Country: United States
> Annual revenue: $94.4 billion
> Annual profit: -$5.5 billion

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Source: Justin Sullivan / Staff / Getty Images

26. Jiangyin Chengxing Industrial Group
> Single-use plastic waste generated in 2019: 1.0 million tons
> Country: China
> Annual revenue: N/A
> Annual profit: N/A

Source: alexeynovikov / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

25. Sumitomo Chemical
> Single-use plastic waste generated in 2019: 1.1 million tons
> Country: Japan
> Annual revenue: $20.8 billion
> Annual profit: $143.1 million

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Source: Courtesy of Zhejiang Wankai New Materials Co.,Ltd.

24. Zhejiang Wankai
> Single-use plastic waste generated in 2019: 1.1 million tons
> Country: China
> Annual revenue: N/A
> Annual profit: N/A

Source: ivanastar / iStock Unreleased via Getty Images

23. Phillips 66
> Single-use plastic waste generated in 2019: 1.1 million tons
> Country: United States
> Annual revenue: $63.7 billion
> Annual profit: -$4 billion

Source: 39955793@N07 / Flickr

22. Siam Cement Group
> Single-use plastic waste generated in 2019: 1.2 million tons
> Country: Thailand
> Annual revenue: $12.8 billion
> Annual profit: $1.1 billion

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Source: Courtesy of Nova Chemicals

21. Nova Chemicals Corporation
> Single-use plastic waste generated in 2019: 1.3 million tons
> Country: Canada
> Annual revenue: N/A
> Annual profit: N/A

Source: Milkomède / CC BY-SA 4.0 / Wikimedia Commons

20. China Resources
> Single-use plastic waste generated in 2019: 1.4 million tons
> Country: Hong Kong
> Annual revenue: $7.2 billion
> Annual profit: $664.2 million

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19. PTT
> Single-use plastic waste generated in 2019: 1.7 million tons
> Country: Thailand
> Annual revenue: $51.6 billion
> Annual profit: $1.2 billion

Source: Courtesy of China Energy Investment

18. China Energy Investment Group
> Single-use plastic waste generated in 2019: 1.7 million tons
> Country: China
> Annual revenue: N/A
> Annual profit: N/A

Source: Dual Freq / CC BY-SA 3.0 / Wikimedia Commons

17. Formosa Plastics Corporation
> Single-use plastic waste generated in 2019: 1.8 million tons
> Country: Taiwan
> Annual revenue: $7.1 billion
> Annual profit: $1.2 billion

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Source: Courtesy of Far East New Century

16. Far Eastern New Century
> Single-use plastic waste generated in 2019: 1.8 million tons
> Country: Taiwan
> Annual revenue: $7 billion
> Annual profit: $273.8 million

Source: Justin Sullivan / Staff / Getty Images

15. Jiangsu Hailun Petrochemical
> Single-use plastic waste generated in 2019: 1.8 million tons
> Country: China
> Annual revenue: N/A
> Annual profit: N/A

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Source: mtcurado / iStock Unreleased via Getty Images

14. Total
> Single-use plastic waste generated in 2019: 2.1 million tons
> Country: France
> Annual revenue: $119.7 billion
> Annual profit: -$7.6 billion

Source: Paul McIlroy / Petrochemical plant / Wikimedia Commons

13. INEOS
> Single-use plastic waste generated in 2019: 2.2 million tons
> Country: England
> Annual revenue: N/A
> Annual profit: N/A

Source: Rose676 / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

12. Lotte Chemical
> Single-use plastic waste generated in 2019: 2.3 million tons
> Country: South Korea
> Annual revenue: $10.4 billion
> Annual profit: $134.3 million

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Source: Borealis AG / Wikimedia Commons

11. Borealis
> Single-use plastic waste generated in 2019: 2.4 million tons
> Country: Austria
> Annual revenue: $8.1 billion
> Annual profit: $698.3 million

Source: Alpek / Wikimedia Commons

10. Alpek SA de CV
> Single-use plastic waste generated in 2019: 2.5 million tons
> Country: Mexico
> Annual revenue: $114 billion
> Annual profit: $11.7 billion

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9. Braskem
> Single-use plastic waste generated in 2019: 3.3 million tons
> Country: Brazil
> Annual revenue: $11.4 billion
> Annual profit: -$1.3 billion

Source: Courtesy of Reliance Industries

8. Reliance Industries
> Single-use plastic waste generated in 2019: 3.4 million tons
> Country: India
> Annual revenue: $61.2 billion
> Annual profit: $5.7 billion

Source: Lydia Howell / CC BY 2.0 / Wikimedia Commons

7. LyondellBasell
> Single-use plastic waste generated in 2019: 4.3 million tons
> Country: United Kingdom
> Annual revenue: $27.7 billion
> Annual profit: $1.4 billion

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Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

6. PetroChina
> Single-use plastic waste generated in 2019: 4.4 million tons
> Country: China
> Annual revenue: $280.7 billion
> Annual profit: $2.9 billion

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

5. Saudi Aramco
> Single-use plastic waste generated in 2019: 4.7 million tons
> Country: Saudi Arabia
> Annual revenue: $229.7 billion
> Annual profit: $49.3 billion

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Source: Courtesy of Indorama Ventures

4. Indorama Ventures
> Single-use plastic waste generated in 2019: 5.1 million tons
> Country: Thailand
> Annual revenue: $10.6 billion
> Annual profit: $53.2 million

Source: Daniel Case / Wikimedia Commons

3. Sinopec
> Single-use plastic waste generated in 2019: 5.8 million tons
> Country: China
> Annual revenue: $271.1 billion
> Annual profit: $4.8 billion

Source: Courtesy of Dow Jones

2. Dow
> Single-use plastic waste generated in 2019: 6.2 million tons
> Country: United States
> Annual revenue: $38.5 billion
> Annual profit: $1.2 billion

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Source: zodebala / iStock Unreleased via Getty Images

1. ExxonMobil
> Single-use plastic waste generated in 2019: 6.5 million tons
> Country: United States
> Annual revenue: $178.2 billion
> Annual profit: -$22.4 billion

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