Editor’s Note: This report was updated on October 23, 2020 to include a more complete list of contributors and sources, and to include a link to the recently published article in Science journal.
Plastic has become ubiquitous on shelves and in our homes. From packaged foods and disposable bottles to microspheres in personal wash products, it is widely used in packaging or in products because of its versatility, cheap and convenient. However, this convenience comes at a price. Plastic waste enters the ocean at the rate of around 11 million tons per year, where it harms marine life and harms habitats.
How did we get here? We have manufactured large quantities of plastic products and have taken few steps to regulate their use or properly manage their disposal.
Breaking the Plastic Wave, a global analysis using unique modeling, shows that applying existing solutions and technologies, we can reduce annual plastic flows into the ocean by approximately 80% over the next 20 years. No single solution can achieve this goal. Rather, we only break the plastic wave by acting immediately, ambitiously and in concert.