Brazil is the largest plastic producer in Latin America. In 2019, 6.5 million tons of plastic were produced, of which 44% were single-use plastics. Of the 2.92 million tons of single-use plastic produced, 87% is packaging and 13% are disposable goods like plastic cups, cutlery and bags.
Considering that a quarter of the population lives in coastal cities with inefficient systems to collect and recycle waste, Brazil’s contribution to marine plastic pollution is undeniable. In fact, Brazil contributes 325,000 tons of marine litter every year due to poorly managed plastic waste. Plastic pollution is ubiquitous on Brazilian beaches, and it is also the most common type of anthropogenic litter ingested by sea turtles, seabirds and marine mammals along the Brazilian coast.
What We Do
Oceana is campaigning to influence plastic legislation at the federal and state level that promotes the reduction of throwaway plastics produced.
The plastic industry is a powerful segment in Brazil, and the public increasingly demands that the government and business address the plastic pollution crisis. More than 50 bills have been introduced in the House of Representatives proposing to ban, reduce or regulate specific types of plastic. However, all these bills have been folded into a central bill favored by the industry that avoids bans.
Still, progress is being made on the municipal, local and state level. In January 2020, Sao Paulo, Brazil’s most populated city and the fifth largest city in the world, enacted a city ordinance that bans the use of plastic utensils in hotels, bars, and restaurants.