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A new paper published in Science Advances found that the United States generates the most plastic waste of any country globally. Even the advanced waste management infrastructure in the country isn’t set up to deal with the magnitude of waste, the authors found. Because of this, much of the waste ends up in the environment.

Source: Ocean Conservancy/Youtube

Because so many corporations in the United States sell plastic products around the world and the country sends much of its waste plastic overseas, it’s misleading to blame other countries for excess waste in their jurisdictions.

Greenpeace USA Global Plastics Project Leader Graham Forbes shared in an emailed statement, “For years, corporations and governments in the Global North have scapegoated countries in Asia for the plastic pollution crisis. This comprehensive study now reveals that the United States has generated more plastic waste than any other country, and an enormous amount of that is ending up in our environment. This proves that the recycling infrastructure argument we see from industry is a ruse. Plastic producers and major consumer goods companies have argued that if we just build up recycling infrastructure in Africa and Asia, then we can continue churning out single-use plastic. The U.S. has a relatively robust waste infrastructure, yet an estimated five times as much plastic pollution entered the oceans in 2016 than in 2010. The U.S. needs to stop blaming other countries for its problem and give up its addiction to single-use plastic.”

According to the research, the amount of plastic put into the environment by the United States is five times larger in 2016 than it was in 2010. Global plastic production also increased by 26% between 2010 and 2016.

“The idea that we can just continue to prop up recycling to tackle the pollution crisis is a fantasy pushed by corporations since the 1970s. This analysis shows that plastic production has grown 26 percent from 2010 to 2016 alone, and the pollution crisis is only worsening due to the pandemic. The researchers are clear in their assessment that the best way to reduce plastic in the environment is by producing less of it. To address the worsening pollution crisis, governments and corporations in the United States and globally need to stop conning the people they serve and get serious about ending our reliance on throwaway plastic,” said Forbes.

There are products you may be using or habits you may have that contribute to plastic pollution. Learn more about how the use of Teabags, Cotton Swabs, Laundry, Contact Lenses, Glitter and Sheet Masks pollute our oceans so you can make more informed decisions going forward. There are also numerous simple actions and switches that can help cut plastic out of our lives including, making your own cosmetics, shampoo, toothpaste, soap, household cleaners, using mason jars, reusable bags/bottles/straws, and avoiding microbeads!

Sign this petition to Ban Single-Use Plastic; Microplastics Have Now Been Found in Antarctica!

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