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Facts About Plastics

The word plastic is derived from the Greek verb plassein meaning “to mold or shape.”

The world produced as much plastic in the last decade as it did in the entire twentieth century.

Estimates for how much plastic winds up in the ocean range as high as 1.6 billion pounds annually, the same amount of Atlantic cod that is taken from the sea each year.

More than 180 species have been shown to eat plastic debris.

Worldwide people use 500 billion to a trillion bags a year, or more than a million a minute, with the average American using 300 a year.

The average American throws out 300 pounds of packaging a year.

Half of all plastics produced go into single-use applications.

In the United States 31 million tons of plastic waste was generated in 2010, accounting for 12.4 percent of total municipal solid waste. In 1960 plastics represented less than one percent of the waste stream in the United States.

In 2010, the United States generated almost 14 million tons of plastics as containers and packaging, almost 11 million tons as durable goods, such as appliances, and almost 7 million tons as nondurable goods, like plates and cups.

Only 8 percent of the total plastic waste generated in 2010 was recovered for recycling in the United States.