Special Report

Companies that Produce the Most Plastic Waste Around the World

Young777 / iStock Unreleased via Getty Images

New Jersey’s plastic ban drew headlines recently after a study questioned its effectiveness. While the single-use bag ban lowered bag volume use, it increased consumption of alternative plastics, which are not recycled, according to Freedonia Custom Research. Indeed, despite worldwide attempts to reduce single-use plastics through consumer awareness, corporate efforts, and regulation, the opposite was true in 2021 compared to 2019.

In fact, one of the key findings of the Plastic Waste Makers Index 2023 report, published this year by the Minderoo Foundation, an Australia-based philanthropy, 6 million more metric tons of plastic waste was generated in 2021 compared to 2019 — almost entirely made from fossil fuel-based new plastic polymers. What’s more, greenhouse gas emissions from single-use plastics in 2021 were equivalent to about 450 MNT of carbon dioxide, or, according to the report, more than the total GHG emissions of the United Kingdom. (These are the American cities with the most contaminated water.)

Within the industry, only 2% of single-use plastic came from recycled waste, though two companies are noted as making the strongest commitment. Far Eastern New Century and Indorama Ventures, which are among the companies producing most plastic waste, are also producing on par recycled polymers at scale. (Also see: These are the Top Carbon Dioxide Producing Cities on Earth.)

The report notes that “the top 20 list of petrochemical companies producing virgin polymers bound for single-use plastic remains effectively unchanged.” Here, 24/7 Wall St. is listing the top 50 companies that produce the most plastic waste based on the Plastic Waste Makers Index 2023 report. Among the top 10 producers are three U.S. companies and two Chinese companies. Of the 139 MNT of single-use plastic waste generated in 2021, the top 10 companies generated about 31% and the 50 companies on the list generated 62%.

The 50 companies on the list are ranked on the plastic waste generated in 2021, measured in millions of tons. We added cradle-to-grave greenhouse gas emissions measured in million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent. This measure considers impacts at each stage of a plastic product’s lifecycle, from the natural resources extracted to manufacturing and ultimately, disposal. The circularity score is the company’s improvement in its reuses of plastic resources.

Annual revenue figures came from a range of sources, including Yahoo! Finance and the company’s own sites. Revenue figures reported in foreign currency were converted to U.S. dollars using exchange rates as of Oct. 26, 2023.

50. Daelim Group

  • Single-use plastic waste generated, 2021: 0.4 million tons
  • GHG emissions for single-use plastics, 2021: 1.4 million tons of CO2e
  • Circularity score: N/A
  • Country: South Korea
  • Annual revenue, FY 2022: 7,319.0 billion KRW (est. $5.4 billion)

49. Ningxia Baofeng Energy Group

  • Single-use plastic waste generated, 2021: 0.5 million tons
  • GHG emissions for single-use plastics, 2021: 4.2 million tons of CO2e
  • Circularity score: E
  • Country: China
  • Annual revenue, FY 2022: 28.4 billion CNY (est. $4.0 billion)

48. Oil and Natural Gas Corporation

  • Single-use plastic waste generated, 2021: 0.5 million tons
  • GHG emissions for single-use plastics, 2021: 1.4 million tons of CO2e
  • Circularity score: E
  • Country: India
  • Annual revenue, FY 2023: 6,848.3 billion INR (est. $82.2 billion)

47. MOL Group

  • Single-use plastic waste generated, 2021: 0.5 million tons
  • GHG emissions for single-use plastics, 2021: 1.5 million tons of CO2e
  • Circularity score: D-
  • Country: Hungary
  • Annual revenue, FY 2022: $26.3 billion

46. Formosa Chemicals & Fibre Corporation

  • Single-use plastic waste generated, 2021: 0.5 million tons
  • GHG emissions for single-use plastics, 2021: 2.1 million tons of CO2e
  • Circularity score: D
  • Country: Taiwan
  • Annual revenue, FY 2022: 379.9 billion TWD (est. $11.8 billion)

45. SK Innovation Co

  • Single-use plastic waste generated, 2021: 0.5 million tons
  • GHG emissions for single-use plastics, 2021: 1.7 million tons of CO2e
  • Circularity score: D-
  • Country: South Korea
  • Annual revenue, FY 2022: 78,060.0 billion KRW (est. $57.8 billion)

44. Nan Ya Plastics Corporation

  • Single-use plastic waste generated, 2021: 0.6 million tons
  • GHG emissions for single-use plastics, 2021: 2.5 million tons of CO2e
  • Circularity score: N/A
  • Country: Taiwan
  • Annual revenue, FY 2022: 355.2 billion TWD (est. $11.0 billion)

43. Repsol

  • Single-use plastic waste generated, 2021: 0.6 million tons
  • GHG emissions for single-use plastics, 2021: 1.7 million tons of CO2e
  • Circularity score: C-
  • Country: Spain
  • Annual revenue, FY 2022: 75.2 billion EUR (est. $79.7 billion)

42. Sasol

  • Single-use plastic waste generated, 2021: 0.6 million tons
  • GHG emissions for single-use plastics, 2021: 1.9 million tons of CO2e
  • Circularity score: D-
  • Country: South Africa
  • Annual revenue, FY 2023: 289.7 billion ZAR (est. $16.3 billion)

41. Westlake Corporation

  • Single-use plastic waste generated, 2021: 0.6 million tons
  • GHG emissions for single-use plastics, 2021: 1.7 million tons of CO2e
  • Circularity score: D
  • Country: USA
  • Annual revenue, FY 2022: $15.8 billion

40. JBF Industries

  • Single-use plastic waste generated, 2021: 0.6 million tons
  • GHG emissions for single-use plastics, 2021: 3.0 million tons of CO2e
  • Circularity score: N/A
  • Country: India
  • Annual revenue, FY 2023: 11.0 billion INR (est. $.1 billion)

39. GAIL India

  • Single-use plastic waste generated, 2021: 0.7 million tons
  • GHG emissions for single-use plastics, 2021: 2.1 million tons of CO2e
  • Circularity score: D-
  • Country: India
  • Annual revenue, FY 2023: 1,456.7 billion INR (est. $17.5 billion)

38. Mitsui & Co.

  • Single-use plastic waste generated, 2021: 0.7 million tons
  • GHG emissions for single-use plastics, 2021: 2.7 million tons of CO2e
  • Circularity score: D
  • Country: Japan
  • Annual revenue, FY 2023: 14,306.4 billion JPY (est. $95.9 billion)

37. Yanchang Group

  • Single-use plastic waste generated, 2021: 0.7 million tons
  • GHG emissions for single-use plastics, 2021: 5.3 million tons of CO2e
  • Circularity score: E
  • Country: Hong Kong
  • Annual revenue, FY 2022: 29.9 billion HKD (est. $3.9 billion)

36. ENI

  • Single-use plastic waste generated, 2021: 0.8 million tons
  • GHG emissions for single-use plastics, 2021: 2.6 million tons of CO2e
  • Circularity score: D
  • Country: Italy
  • Annual revenue, FY 2022: 133.4 billion EUR (est. $141.4 billion)

35. Indian Oil Corporation

  • Single-use plastic waste generated, 2021: 0.8 million tons
  • GHG emissions for single-use plastics, 2021: 2.3 million tons of CO2e
  • Circularity score: D-
  • Country: India
  • Annual revenue, FY 2022: 8,417.6 billion INR (est. $101.0 billion)

34. Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation

  • Single-use plastic waste generated, 2021: 0.8 million tons
  • GHG emissions for single-use plastics, 2021: 2.7 million tons of CO2e
  • Circularity score: D
  • Country: Japan
  • Annual revenue, FY 2023: 4,634.5 billion JPY (est. $31.1 billion)

33. Abu Dhabi National Oil Company

  • Single-use plastic waste generated, 2021: 0.8 million tons
  • GHG emissions for single-use plastics, 2021: 2.8 million tons of CO2e
  • Circularity score: D
  • Country: UAE
  • Annual revenue, FY 2022: $2.7 billion

32. Chevron Corporation

  • Single-use plastic waste generated, 2021: 0.9 million tons
  • GHG emissions for single-use plastics, 2021: 2.8 million tons of CO2e
  • Circularity score: D
  • Country: USA
  • Annual revenue, FY 2022: $235.7 billion

31. China Coal

  • Single-use plastic waste generated, 2021: 0.9 million tons
  • GHG emissions for single-use plastics, 2021: 8.0 million tons of CO2e
  • Circularity score: E
  • Country: China
  • Annual revenue, FY 2022: 220.6 billion HKD (est. $28.7 billion)

30. Sumitomo Chemical

  • Single-use plastic waste generated, 2021: 0.9 million tons
  • GHG emissions for single-use plastics, 2021: 3.0 million tons of CO2e
  • Circularity score: D-
  • Country: Japan
  • Annual revenue, FY 2023: 2,895.3 billion JPY (est. $19.4 billion)

29. Phillips 66

  • Single-use plastic waste generated, 2021: 0.9 million tons
  • GHG emissions for single-use plastics, 2021: 2.9 million tons of CO2e
  • Circularity score: D
  • Country: USA
  • Annual revenue, FY 2022: $170.0 billion

28. LG Chem

  • Single-use plastic waste generated, 2021: 1.0 million tons
  • GHG emissions for single-use plastics, 2021: 3.2 million tons of CO2e
  • Circularity score: D
  • Country: South Korea
  • Annual revenue, FY 2022: 51,864.9 billion KRW (est. $38.4 billion)

27. Hanwha Chemical

  • Single-use plastic waste generated, 2021: 1.0 million tons
  • GHG emissions for single-use plastics, 2021: 3.2 million tons of CO2e
  • Circularity score: D
  • Country: South Korea
  • Annual revenue, FY 2022: 13,653.0 billion KRW (est. $10.1 billion)

26. Zhejiang Hengyi Group

  • Single-use plastic waste generated, 2021: 1.0 million tons
  • GHG emissions for single-use plastics, 2021: 4.9 million tons of CO2e
  • Circularity score: E
  • Country: China
  • Annual revenue, FY 2022: 152.1 billion CNY (est. $21.3 billion)

25. Nova Chemicals Corporation

  • Single-use plastic waste generated, 2021: 1.1 million tons
  • GHG emissions for single-use plastics, 2021: 3.0 million tons of CO2e
  • Circularity score: D
  • Country: Canada
  • Annual revenue, FY 2022: $4.5 billion

24. Siam Cement Group

  • Single-use plastic waste generated, 2021: 1.2 million tons
  • GHG emissions for single-use plastics, 2021: 4.0 million tons of CO2e
  • Circularity score: D
  • Country: Thailand
  • Annual revenue, FY 2022: 569.6 billion THB (est. $15.9 billion)

23. Zhejiang Wankai New Materials Co

  • Single-use plastic waste generated, 2021: 1.4 million tons
  • GHG emissions for single-use plastics, 2021: 6.7 million tons of CO2e
  • Circularity score: E
  • Country: China
  • Annual revenue, FY 2022: 19.4 billion CNY (est. $2.7 billion)

22. PTT PCL

  • Single-use plastic waste generated, 2021: 1.5 million tons
  • GHG emissions for single-use plastics, 2021: 4.9 million tons of CO2e
  • Circularity score: D
  • Country: Thailand
  • Annual revenue, FY 2022: 3,367.2 billion THB (est. $94.3 billion)

21. Far Eastern New Century

  • Single-use plastic waste generated, 2021: 1.5 million tons
  • GHG emissions for single-use plastics, 2021: 8.0 million tons of CO2e
  • Circularity score: B-
  • Country: Taiwan
  • Annual revenue, FY 2022: 263.9 billion TWD (est. $8.2 billion)

20. China Energy Investment Group

  • Single-use plastic waste generated, 2021: 1.5 million tons
  • GHG emissions for single-use plastics, 2021: 14.8 million tons of CO2e
  • Circularity score: E
  • Country: China
  • Annual revenue, FY 2021: 691.0 billion CNY (est. $96.7 billion)

19. China Resources Chemical

  • Single-use plastic waste generated, 2021: 1.6 million tons
  • GHG emissions for single-use plastics, 2021: 7.4 million tons of CO2e
  • Circularity score: E
  • Country: China
  • Annual revenue, FY 2022: 17.3 billion CNY (est. $2.4 billion)

18. Jiangsu Hailun Petrochemical

  • Single-use plastic waste generated, 2021: 1.6 million tons
  • GHG emissions for single-use plastics, 2021: 7.6 million tons of CO2e
  • Circularity score: E
  • Country: China
  • Annual revenue, FY N/A: N/A

17. Rongsheng Group

  • Single-use plastic waste generated, 2021: 1.7 million tons
  • GHG emissions for single-use plastics, 2021: 6.9 million tons of CO2e
  • Circularity score: E
  • Country: China
  • Annual revenue, FY 2022: 289.1 billion CNY (est. $40.5 billion)

16. SIBUR

  • Single-use plastic waste generated, 2021: 1.8 million tons
  • GHG emissions for single-use plastics, 2021: 5.9 million tons of CO2e
  • Circularity score: D
  • Country: Russia
  • Annual revenue, FY 2021: 731.0 billion RUB (est. $8.0 billion)

15. Formosa Plastics Corp

  • Single-use plastic waste generated, 2021: 1.8 million tons
  • GHG emissions for single-use plastics, 2021: 5.4 million tons of CO2e
  • Circularity score: D-
  • Country: Taiwan
  • Annual revenue, FY 2022: 251.6 billion TWD (est. $7.8 billion)

14. Lotte Chemical

  • Single-use plastic waste generated, 2021: 1.8 million tons
  • GHG emissions for single-use plastics, 2021: 6.7 million tons of CO2e
  • Circularity score: D
  • Country: South Korea
  • Annual revenue, FY 2022: 22,276.1 billion KRW (est. $16.5 billion)

13. TotalEnergies

  • Single-use plastic waste generated, 2021: 2.1 million tons
  • GHG emissions for single-use plastics, 2021: 7.2 million tons of CO2e
  • Circularity score: D
  • Country: France
  • Annual revenue, FY 2022: $263.3 billion

12. Borealis

  • Single-use plastic waste generated, 2021: 2.2 million tons
  • GHG emissions for single-use plastics, 2021: 7.2 million tons of CO2e
  • Circularity score: C-
  • Country: Austria
  • Annual revenue, FY 2022: 12.2 billion EUR (est. $13.0 billion)

11. Braskem

  • Single-use plastic waste generated, 2021: 2.6 million tons
  • GHG emissions for single-use plastics, 2021: 7.1 million tons of CO2e
  • Circularity score: C-
  • Country: Brazil
  • Annual revenue, FY 2022: 96.5 billion BRL (est. $19.3 billion)

10. Alpek SA de CV

  • Single-use plastic waste generated, 2021: 2.8 million tons
  • GHG emissions for single-use plastics, 2021: 12.6 million tons of CO2e
  • Circularity score: C-
  • Country: Mexico
  • Annual revenue, FY 2022: 212.4 billion MXN (est. $11.7 billion)

9. INEOS

  • Single-use plastic waste generated, 2021: 2.8 million tons
  • GHG emissions for single-use plastics, 2021: 9.3 million tons of CO2e
  • Circularity score: D
  • Country: United Kingdom
  • Annual revenue, FY 2022: 20.9 billion EUR (est. $22.2 billion)

8. Reliance Industries

  • Single-use plastic waste generated, 2021: 3.0 million tons
  • GHG emissions for single-use plastics, 2021: 10.8 million tons of CO2e
  • Circularity score: D-
  • Country: India
  • Annual revenue, FY 2023: 8,794.7 billion INR (est. $105.5 billion)

7. PetroChina

  • Single-use plastic waste generated, 2021: 4.2 million tons
  • GHG emissions for single-use plastics, 2021: 14.9 million tons of CO2e
  • Circularity score: E
  • Country: China
  • Annual revenue, FY 2022: 3,239.2 billion CNY (est. $453.5 billion)

6. LyondellBasell

  • Single-use plastic waste generated, 2021: 4.4 million tons
  • GHG emissions for single-use plastics, 2021: 13.4 million tons of CO2e
  • Circularity score: C-
  • Country: USA
  • Annual revenue, FY 2022: $50.5 billion

5. Saudi Aramco

  • Single-use plastic waste generated, 2021: 4.5 million tons
  • GHG emissions for single-use plastics, 2021: 14.9 million tons of CO2e
  • Circularity score: D
  • Country: Saudi Arabia
  • Annual revenue, FY 2022: 2,007.0 billion SAR (est. $535.2 billion)

4. Indorama Ventures

  • Single-use plastic waste generated, 2021: 4.6 million tons
  • GHG emissions for single-use plastics, 2021: 21.7 million tons of CO2e
  • Circularity score: C
  • Country: Thailand
  • Annual revenue, FY 2022: 656.3 billion THB (est. $18.4 billion)

3. Dow

Dow Chemicals Plans To Layoff 5,000 Employees
  • Single-use plastic waste generated, 2021: 5.3 million tons
  • GHG emissions for single-use plastics, 2021: 15.6 million tons of CO2e
  • Circularity score: C-
  • Country: USA
  • Annual revenue, FY 2022: $56.9 billion

2. Sinopec

  • Single-use plastic waste generated, 2021: 5.8 million tons
  • GHG emissions for single-use plastics, 2021: 22.1 million tons of CO2e
  • Circularity score: D-
  • Country: China
  • Annual revenue, FY 2022: 3,318.2 billion CNY (est. $464.5 billion)

1. ExxonMobil

  • Single-use plastic waste generated, 2021: 6.0 million tons
  • GHG emissions for single-use plastics, 2021: 17.8 million tons of CO2e
  • Circularity score: D
  • Country: USA
  • Annual revenue, FY 2022: $398.7 billion

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