Plastic waste production increases 263% in the US, but only 5% is recycled

Pet is one of the plastics that most frequently reaches the country’s landfills.

Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The generation of plastic in the United States has skyrocketed since 1980 to 263% per person, according to data from a recent report; in contrast, so only 5% of everything generated is recycled.

The document titled The Last Beach Cleanup and Beyond Plastics points out that in 1980, Americans produced about 60 pounds of plasticwhile currently personal production is 218 lbs.

Compared to the production figure, the data that the report details of 5% for recycling in 2021 it is almost insignificantaccording to a report published in The Guardian.

The recycling data for plastic products is consistent with an independent study that the Department of Energy conducted in 2019.

According to studies, the main causes of why plastics accumulate every day in greater quantities in the country’s landfills have to do with:

– Low recycling rates
– Population growth
– Preference to consume single-use plastics
– Low disposal fee

According to the research of The Last Beach Cleanup and Beyond Plasticsabout 85% of the plastics that are generated, end up in landfillswhile the remaining 10% is burned to produce energy.

Other external factors feed these figures. One is the change in international law, such as the ban imposed on China by the plastic imports from the United States.

Last Beach Cleanup founder Jan Dell explains that as of 2017, China accepted ships loaded with hundreds of tons of plastic waste but without that option, plastics inevitably end up in landfills.

“We don’t have factories to do it. Also requires a lot of waterSo we’re not going to build any more plastic recycling facilities in the United States,” Dell said.

The plastic recycling scenario is seen as a tragedy, according to the study data, especially when contrasted with the recycling rates of other productsaccording to data from the American Forest Products Association and the EPA.

Paper: 66%
Aluminum cans: 59.4%

“We can’t stay in the plastic nightmare scenario of single use that we find ourselves in now, ”says Dell.

“There is no way out of this without reducing waste to begin with,” he adds.

The specialist considers that the first step to take to control the excessive production of plastic should begin with the prohibition of single-use plastics:

food trays

Recently, single-use plastic bags were banned from New Jersey grocery stores, a move in line with Dell’s proposal.

These types of restrictions already apply in Europe and in cities like Los Angeles, California.

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