The Immense, Eternal Footprint Humanity Leaves on Earth: PlasticsPosted on February 25, 2019 by DrRossH in Plastic Waste News
More than 8 billion metric tons of plastic have been made since the 1950s, researchers found. Because it does not degrade, most is still in the environment.
Most of the plastic that has been made is no longer in use — about 6.3 billion metric tons of plastic have been thrown away since 1950. About 12 percent of that has been incinerated, which is the only way to permanently dispose of plastic; 9 percent has been recycled, which only delays final disposal; and 60 percent — about 4.9 billion metric tons — is in landfills or scattered in the environment.
In Europe, 30 percent of nonfiber plastic is recycled, compared to 9 percent in the United States. Europe also burns more plastic — about 40 percent of its nonfiber plastic waste — while the U.S. incinerates around 16 percent. China recycles about 25 percent and burns about 30 percent of its plastic waste. The authors estimate that recycling, disposal and incineration rates in the rest of the world are probably similar to those in the United States.