An outright ban on plastics could cause even more harm to the environment and lead to triple the amount of greenhouse gas emissions.
That's the finding of experts from Herriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, who say that replacing plastic with alternate materials such as metal and glass won't help the environment.
The team say this is because the manufacturing of these replacements could double global energy consumption.
Resources required to process these replacement materials would lead to more energy consumption and more greenhouse gas.
Campaigners have called for reductions or bans, with recent programs such as the BBC's?Blue Planet?highlighting the impact of plastics on the world's oceans.
But the team of forty academics said arguments surrounding a reduction or ban are 'often shortsighted and not based on facts'.
The waste products produced when making metal and glass are all bad for the environment.
The major environmental impact of glass and metal production is caused by atmospheric emissions from melting activities.
The combustion of natural gas/fuel oil and the decomposition of raw materials during the melting lead to the emission of CO2.
Professor David Bucknall, who led the research, said that transportation of consumer goods in plastic packaging means fewer vehicles because plastic is lightweight.
Therefore burning less fuel and greatly reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The academics draw expertise from engineering, science, economics and social science, said there needs to be a 'circular economy' for plastic usage.
'Almost everything we touch or interact with on a daily basis is made of or contains a plastic of some description,' said Professor David Bucknall, chairman in materials chemistry from the university's Institute of Chemical Sciences.
'Banning or reducing their use would have a massive impact on the way we live.
'So whilst some people may wish for plastics to be reduced or banned altogether, we need to ensure we are replacing them with materials that are better for the planet.
'In many cases there is no credible alternative to using a plastic so we need to move towards a "circular economy" for plastics, rather than the largely 'make-use-dispose' model we currently adopt.'