In 1960, plastics comprised only about 1 percent of solid waste in the United States. Now, that number is more like 12 percent. Most of these plastics go straight to the dump after we use them, a fact that highlights extreme wastefulness -- especially when you consider that plastics are easy for manufacturers to melt and reuse for new products.
Degradable plastics are a good tactic in our overall strategy for waste management. That's especially true for the roughly 4 billion plastic bags that become litter every year around the globe. But when it comes to long-term sustainability, we're better off recycling and reusing materials instead of constantly disposing of them.
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