Billion Tons of Plastic Made Since 1950 - and Most is Now Trash

Landfill operation is conducted by the city of New York on the marshlands of Jamaica Bay. This

USA scientists estimate a total of 8.3 billion tons (metric) of plastic have been produced over the course of history, enough to cover a country the size of Argentina, and a ton of plastic for every person on the planet.

Recent figures from Recycle Now show that Britain bins around 16 million plastic bottles a day and If a year's worth of the UK's unrecycled plastic bottles were placed end to end, they'd reach around the world 31 times, covering just over 780,000 miles.

While we may be more aware of plastic packaging, the use of plastic fibres in clothing like nylons and fleece has also grown.

"Plastic is the opposite - half of all plastics become waste after four or fewer years of use".

Demand for plastics has grown in parallel with population growth, particularly in parts of the world where large numbers of people are rapidly moving out of poverty. "I don't think that's going to be the picture". But then, Geyer said the researchers made a decision to include plastic fibers used in textiles, such as in fleece and polyester, which are used to make clothing, carpets, curtains and furniture.

While that has brought its benefits, such as lower-cost materials or capabilities like water resistance, our love of plastic has also produced a lot of trash.

Of the total amount of produced from 1950 to 2015, roughly half was manufactured in just the last 13 years. In packaging, for example, plastics enable significant environmental benefits, including reductions in energy use, greenhouse gas emissions and waste. What's more, the majority of this has been thrown away.

The Washington-based American Chemistry Council said it welcomed the study and discussions about environmental benefits behind rising plastics use.

The boom in plastics production began after the Second World War, and today is used in everything from consumer goods like mobile phones refrigerators, construction materials, and in cars and clothes.

"Roughly half of all the steel we make goes into construction, so it will have decades of use - plastic is the opposite", said lead author Roland Geyer, an associate professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Study co-author Doctor Kara Lavender Law, a research professor at the Sea Education Association (SEA), added: "There are areas where plastics are indispensable, especially in products designed for durability".

The researchers say it's the first global analysis of mass produced plastic. At current trends, it said the "global discard rate" of plastics would drop from 58 percent in 2014 to 6 percent in 2050.

"Plastics recycling is very challenging economically and technically", Geyer said.

"Ultimately we want to prevent plastic entering our oceans, with plastic recognised as a finite resource and products created to be easily recyclable".

While plastics are durable and lightweight, almost all commercial plastics are non-biodegradable - meaning they remain in the environment for decades before breaking down. What's more, some 2.8 billion tons, or about 30 percent of the total, is in use right now, an indication of how fast the industry is growing.

"Our estimates underscore the need to think critically about the materials we use and our waste management practices".

Related news:

Hot News

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Legendary Pokemon Raids Are Finally Coming to Pokemon GO
Jul 21, 2017 - 00:39
The trailer posted below provides a glimpse at how Trainers can cooperate to find, battle, and catch a Legendary Pokemon. First, players must acquire a Legendary Raid ticket, which means doing a lot of normal raids to be able to get one.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Democrats preferred in 2018, but without anti-Trump motivation
Jul 20, 2017 - 00:52
But as President Trump and Senate Republicans are learning to their great displeasure, that was not the case. The poll suggests reasons the slide in Trump's approval may not translate into votes for Democrats .

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Politics behind separate flag for K'taka issue
Jul 20, 2017 - 00:51
In spite of its informal status, the flag has much currency in indicating support for Kannada identity, language and culture. The issue of giving the northeastern state its own flag is nearly decided, sources told Hindustan Times in this 2016 report.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Tropical Storm Don fuels Twitter jokes about president
Jul 19, 2017 - 00:33
Right now, the storm is located near Barbados and has weakened significantly, and is barely still qualified as a tropical storm . An Air Force Reserve crew found the storm small and well-defined, but not particularly well-organized.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top USA to admit 15000 additional temporary workers this year: DHS
Jul 18, 2017 - 00:28
And while more visas may create a workforce boost, the damage - and its effect on other industries - may already be done. Trump said he has relied on the program in the past to find workers for his golf courses and hotels.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Second round of Brexit talks to get under way
Jul 18, 2017 - 00:21
EU negotiators want to be able to impose huge fines on Britain for breaking European laws for years after Brexit , it has emerged. Mr Barnier said: "We will now delve into the heart of the matter".

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Manchester City flop completes Sevilla switch
Jul 17, 2017 - 20:39
Nolito has scored six global goals in 16 appearances, but struggled to nail down a regular first-team place under City coach Pep Guardiola last term.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top South Korean President Moon Jae-In calls for rare talks with North
Jul 17, 2017 - 20:38
It is North Korea that has been provocative with, for example, the bombardment of the South Korean island of Yeonpyeong in 2010. The temporary reunions of families that remain separated since the end of the Korean War were last held in October 2015.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Alfred Angelo Bridal closing stores nationwide, employee confirms
Jul 15, 2017 - 00:36
Two have their dresses and four are in limbo. "I cried my eyes out", she recalled of finding the ideal dress. She's 64 days out from her wedding and has already paid $820 for a dress, sash and veil.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Chinese Customs reports imports drop from North Korea
Jul 15, 2017 - 00:35
Huang said coal imports dropped by three-quarters in the first half, and all those shipments had been made before February 18. It, among other things, would impose U.S. sanctions on all those participating in North Korean labour trafficking abuses.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Amarnath Yatra Attack: US condemns cowardly attack, vows to combat terror
Jul 15, 2017 - 00:34
Condemnation against the Amarnath attack has continued to pour in from the global community. Amarnath yatra represents faith and pilgrimage.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top US House may ban healthcare for transgender military personnel
Jul 15, 2017 - 00:32
Transgender people have been allowed to serve openly in the military since October 2016. In pushing the amendment, Hartzler also argued that the surgery is "very costly".

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Aru takes Tour lead (4)
Jul 14, 2017 - 00:39
Rigoberto Uran and Aru were second and third, two seconds behind. "I don't know, I'm not doing anything special", he said. If I'm doing a bike race, I always try to make it as easy as possible and save my legs as much as I can.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Manhunt Underway for Triple Murder Suspect in North Alabama
Jul 13, 2017 - 01:03
Gardendale police are searching for a man suspected of killing three people at a home on Willow Bend Drive Wednesday morning. Lever was placed in York County Prison on October 12, 2015, on the first case on $100,000 and was bailed out the next day.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top FBI Director nominee Christopher Wray's Senate hearing
Jul 13, 2017 - 00:46
Bill Mateja, a Dallas attorney who worked with Wray in the Justice Department , predicts "smooth sailing" for Wray's confirmation. Leahy of Vermont, asked Wray what he would do if Trump asked him to take any steps that he believed were illegal.