While trash has serious impacts on marine wildlife and the environment in general, plastics and how they break down, or don’t break down, raise a specific set of concerns.
In 2010, the US used about 90 billion pounds of plastic. During the same period of time, about 62 billion pounds of plastic were discarded as trash. The table below illustrates the kinds of plastic used in 2010, and an estimate of how much of each kind was discarded. Only 8% of that trash was recycled.
|Plastic Type||Resin Code||2010 Production in millions
|2010 Usage in millions of
|2010 Waste in millions of
*Source: American Chemistry Council
++Source: US EPA