of the plastic used in the U.S. is used just once
then thrown away.
Americans discard more than 30 million tons of plastic a year, and only 8 percent gets recycled. The rest piles up in landfills, is incinerated or becomes litter.
There are over five trillion pieces of plastic, weighing more than 250,000 tons, floating in our oceans. That's more than 700 pieces of plastic per person.
Scientists have collected up to 750,000 bits of microplastic in one square kilometer of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, about 1.9 million bits per square mile. Most comes from plastic bags, bottle caps, plastic water bottles, and Styrofoam cups.
On average, a school-age child using a disposable lunch generates 67 pounds of lunch waste per school year (40,000 pounds of lunch waste per middle school).
Packaging accounts for 32% of all household waste in the U.S.
Americans discard 2.5 million plastic bottles every hour.
40 billion plastic utensils are used every year in the U.S.
Americans use 500 million plastic straws every day, which could fill over 127 school buses every day, or more than 46,400 school buses every year.
120 billion single-use cups are used by Americans every year. Placed end to end, they could circle the equator 333 times!
Every year Americans throw away 100 billion plastic bags.
Worldwide more than one million plastic bags are used every minute.
73% of beach litter is plastic: filters from cigarette butts, bottles, bottle caps, food wrappers, grocery bags, and polystyrene containers.