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NewsHome > News >

Survey Shows:Only 9% of Plastic Waste Is Recycled

Time:2017-07-29 16:25 Author:Suny Group

The growth of plastic production over the past 65 years has been alarming and has clearly outpaced any other manufactured material.

SEATTLE (Scrap Monster): The recent study report published by the journal ‘Science Advances’ has stated that only a small proportion of the plastic waste that has been generated is recycled. The study titled ‘Production, Use and Fate of All Plastics Ever Made’ and authored by Roland Geyer, Jenna R. Jambeck and Kara Lavender Law notes that bulk of the plastic waste either accumulates in landfills or end up in natural environment.

According to the study led by a team of scientists from the University of Georgia, the University of California, Santa Barbara and Sea Education Association, it is estimated that humans have generated nearly 8.3 billion metric tons of plastics by 2015 since 1950’s. Out of these, 6.3 billion metric tons of plastic has become waste. In this only 9% has been recycled and another 12% has been incinerated. The remaining vast majority of 79% plastic has been accumulated in landfills or natural environment, the study notes.

The study also forecasts that, going by current production and waste management trends, the plastics production is likely to multiply four times to total 26 billion metric tons by 2050. Nearly half of these plastics are feared to be dumped in landfills and the environment. The staggering amounts of plastic that end up in the environment are feared to contaminate land and waterways including rivers, streams and oceans.

The growth of plastic production over the past 65 years has been alarming and has clearly outpaced any other manufactured material. The study states that global production of resins and fibers skyrocketed from 2 million tons in 1950’s to 380 million tons in 2015, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.4%. Out of the total of 7,800 million tons of resins and fibers manufactured during 1950 through 2015, nearly 50% were manufactured during the past 13 years. China is identified as the key producer of resin and fiber. As of today, the country accounts for 28% of global resin production and 68% of global polyester, polyamide and acrylic (PP&A) fiber production.

Releasing the study report, Roland Geyers -one of the authors noted that United States lags behind other world countries in recycling plastic material. According to 2014 estimates, Europe topped the world countries with 30% recycling rate, followed by China with 25%. However, the plastic recycling rate in the US stood low at 9%. Furthermore, the rates have continued to remain steady for the past several years, Geyers said. The plastics incineration rate in the US stands at 16%, much lower when matched with nearly 40% in Europe and China.

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