We’re All In This Mess Together Q. Are all the plastic pollution articles making me overreact? Based on those reports, it’s like plastic is glaring at me anywhere and everywhere. What am I supposed to do? — Plastically In Peril A. Dear PIP, Here’s what we know: Plastics, when they get thrown away, stick around for a very, very, very long time. And we throw away a lot of plastic. According to a recent World Economic Forum report, there are an estimated 342 million tons of plastic produced every year. And at least 89 million tons of that is packaging (like packing pellets or, well, anything that’s wrapped around your groceries). The vast majority of that packaging gets thrown away after a single use. In other words, roughly a quarter of all plastic produced becomes waste after it’s used once. A whole bunch of that waste ends up in the ocean, whether it floats out to sea from landfills or from sewers into waterways or it’s dumped in directly. It’s impossible to accurately say how much is in the ocean — it’s massive, and there’s plastic sprinkled all throughout it, even a thousand miles from the nearest human. Among […]

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