A close up of an ocean sample from the North Atlantic Gyre (slow rotating whirlpools in which plastic trash can accumulate), showing both pieces of plastic and zooplankton. You’d be hard pressed to tell the difference. Fish and other marine organisms often can’t.
We currently recover only 5% of the plastics we produce. What happens to the rest of it? Roughly 50% is buried in landfills, some is remade into durable goods, and much of it remains “unaccounted for”, lost in the environment where it ultimately washes out to sea.
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