Plastic has a big carbon footprint, accounting for 3.8% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Made of oil, gas, and coal, plastic generates heat-trapping gases at every stage of their life cycle.  The extraction and transportation of fuels, refining, and manufacturing are greenhouse-gas intensive. Plastic even emits traces of methane and ethylene when exposed to sunlight, and incineration releases all the stored carbon in the plastic into the atmosphere, along with other air pollutants.

And because plastic doesn’t decay, it doesn’t ever stop polluting. Humans have made 8.3bn tons of plastic since 1950, and to complicate the situation further, the vast majority of plastic is not actually getting recycled. A profound amount is ending up in the ocean, with an estimated 8 million metric tons of plastics entering the ocean yearly. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, located between Hawaii and California,  is the largest accumulation of ocean plastic in the world. And, a recent study on microplastic pollution in oceans has found that the problem has been grossly underestimated. 

A study published in Nature found that the amount of plastic could triple in 2060 if we do nothing about it. Find a Plastic Footprint calculator here and 15 ways to shrink your footprint here




Breaking the Plastic Wave: Top Findings for Preventing Plastic Pollution

First-of-its-kind modeling analysis describes actions needed to stop plastic from entering the ocean.

BYOB – Bring Your Own Bag

New state and local laws permanently banning plastic bags will attempt to force a habit change among local consumers and retailers. According to Forbes, nearly 350 cities in 25 states now require the use of…

Plastic Pollution

The impact of plastic pollution on our oceans and what we can do about it.

MacRebur: The Plastic Road Company

MacRebur’s mission is to help solve the waste plastic epidemic and the poor quality of roads we drive on around the world today. Our innovative solution involves processing waste plastics destined for landfill or incineration…

Plastic Footprint Calculator

If you are wondering what your yearly plastic consumption is, check out the plastic footprint calculator

Drowning in plastic: Visualising the world’s addiction to plastic bottles

In a setback for environmental groups, California lawmakers early Saturday morning ended the 2019 legislative session without passing two bills that would have been the most ambitious effort in the nation to reduce the massive…

BBC Plastics Watch

Resources, education, and solutions all about plastic.

How plastics contribute to climate change

They generate heat-trapping gases at every stage of their life cycle.

Parley for the Oceans

Parley for the Oceans addresses major threats towards our oceans, the most important ecosystem of our planet. We believe the power for change lies in the hands of the consumer – given we all have a…



The Plastic Free July challenge is here to help you rid your life of single-use plastic waste

By Joe Bagliere   07/05/20  
Unlike dance battles and dangerous dares, here's a "challenge" just about anyone can get behind. The Australia-based Plastic Free Foundation is once again recruiting participants to take the Plastic Free July challenge -- that is…

Another Reason to Cut Down on Plastics

By Veronica Penney and Miranda Green  Photo by Joshua L. Jones   07/01/20  
Also this week, face masks for the environmentally conscious

A threat from above: Plastic rains down on US National Parks and Wilderness areas

By Kate S. Petersen  Photo by Brian Bienkowski   06/12/20  
The study is the first to calculate rates of microplastic pollution from the atmosphere onto American protected areas and adds to a growing body of research suggesting that microplastics are traveling long distances in the…

Microplastic pollution in oceans vastly underestimated – study

By Damian Carrington  Photo: Louisa Gouliamaki/AFP via Getty Images   05/22/20  
The abundance of microplastic pollution in the oceans is likely to have been vastly underestimated, according to research that suggests there are at least double the number of particles as previously thought.

The end of plastic? New plant-based bottles will degrade in a year

By Jillian Ambrose  Photo by Diego Azubel   05/16/20  
Beer and soft drinks could soon be sipped from “all-plant” bottles under new plans to turn sustainably grown crops into plastic in partnership with major beverage makers.

Hoovering the ocean

By Hugo Kugiya  Photo: Sandy Huffaker for The Washington Post)   05/13/20  
FRED, a solar-powered catamaran built by the organization Clear Blue Sea, retrieves marked water bottles during a test run in Mission Bay in San Diego. (Sandy Huffaker for The Washington Post)

Coronavirus is causing a flurry of plastic waste. Campaigners fear it may be permanent

By Rob Picheta  Photo: Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty   05/04/20  
All of the defining images of the coronavirus pandemic seem to feature one thing: plastic.

‘Microplastic Hot Spots’ Are Tainting Deep-Sea Ecosystems

By Matt simon  Photo by Juan Carlos Munoz   04/30/20  
OFF THE COASTS of Corsica and Sardinia in the Mediterranean Sea swirls an omnipresent yet vanishingly small menace: microplastics. By this point, it comes as no surprise to scientists that they would find the tiny…

Coronavirus Plastic Waste Polluting the Environment

By Nikolia Apostolou  Photo: Vincenzo Lombardo / Getty Images   04/25/20  
By Nikolia ApostolouOver a month into the lockdown and the usually bustling streets of Kalamata, a Greek city southwest of Athens traditionally known for its olives, are largely empty.As in the rest of Greece, residents…

Plastic Wars

By Willy Kurniawan   03/31/20  
With the plastic industry expanding like never before and the crisis of ocean pollution growing, FRONTLINE and NPR investigate the fight over the future of plastics.

Plastics Industry Insiders Reveal the Truth About Recycling

By Patrice Taddonio  Photo by Jonathan Elderfield   03/31/20  
It was the late 1980s, and the plastics industry was under fire. Facing heightened public concern about ever-increasing amounts of garbage, the image of plastics was falling dramatically. State and local officials across the country…

Don’t Let This Pandemic Ruin the Fight Against Single-Use Plastics

By Katherine Martinko   03/26/20  
Listen to scientists, not industry lobbyists, and just keep cleaning. The coronavirus has triggered some unexpected environmental benefits in recent days.

How plastic can be recycled to build roads

Engineer Toby McCartney has found a way to mix recycled plastic in with asphalt to make new roads.

Company Is Using Plastic Bottles To Make Roads That Last 10x Longer Than Asphalt

The creation of plastic in 1907 marks an important point in mankind and the history of Earth. It is the year in which we created one of the most durable, but also environmentally harmful materials…

Take One Last Look at the (Many) Plastic Bags of New York

By Annalisa Quinn   02/28/20  
With a new state ban going into effect, we bid farewell to the purple flower, the smiley face and the THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU designs that have adorned city life for decades.

Enforcement of state plastic bag ban delayed until April 1

By Yancey Roy  Photo by Debbie Egan-Chin   02/28/20  
A state judge on Friday granted a short-term victory to opponents of New York’s pending ban on single-use plastic bags, signing an order to delay enforcement until at least April 1 while a lawsuit continues.

Coke and Pepsi sued for creating a plastic pollution ‘nuisance’

By Erin McCormick  By Pedro Pardo   02/27/20  
Coke, Pepsi, Nestlé and other large companies are being sued by a California environmental group for creating a plastic pollution “nuisance” and misleading consumers about the recyclability of plastic.

Most plastics in our recycling bins aren’t getting recycled, new report finds

By Starre Vartan  Photo by Imran   02/24/20  
Most recycling programs accept plastics labelled 1 through 7, but in the vast majority of cases, only #1 (PET) and #2 (HDPE) actually get recycled, a new report via Greenpeace has found.

More Plastic Is On the Way: What It Means for Climate Change

By Renee Cho  Photo: Kqedquest   02/20/20  
Fossil fuel companies are ramping up production of virgin plastics, with huge potential consequences for climate and the environment.

Amercans dump 100 plastic bottles in nature each year

By Sergio Peçanha   02/19/20  
The plastic that wound up not recycled or in landfills in 2017 added up to about two pounds per person, or the equivalent of 100 plastic bottles, according to a calculation by Jan Dell, an…

NY’s plastic bag ban is coming: Here’s what to know about the stores, the charges and the changes

By Sarah Taddeo and Chad Arnold  Photo by Getty Images   02/14/20  
As New York’s single-use plastic bag ban takes effect in grocery stores across the state, smaller convenience and retail locations are gearing up for a huge hit to their bottom lines — and a habit…

Meet America’s new superpolluters: Plastic plants

By Benjamin Storrow  Photo by Jim West   01/21/20  
The Sunshine Project, a gargantuan petrochemical complex planned on 2,500 acres along the Mississippi River south of Baton Rouge, La., will be one of the largest greenhouse gas emitters in America when it becomes fully…

China Says It Will Ban Plastics That Pollute Its Land and Water

By Chris Buckley  Photo by Johannes Eisele   01/20/20  
Though likely to be welcomed by many Chinese who worry about pollution, the measures could be a hard sell for a society used to convenience. By Chris Buckley

Plastic bags have lobbyists. They’re winning.

By Samantha Maldonado, Bruce Ritchie and Debra Kahn  Photo by David Paul Morris   01/20/20  
Eight states ban the bag, but nearly twice as many have laws protecting them.

Activists Find Evidence of Formosa Plant in Texas Still Releasing Plastic Pollution Despite $50 Million Settlement

By Julie Dermansky  Photo by Julie Dermansky   01/18/20  
Wilson described the occasion as “day one of the zero discharge settlement.” As of that date, Formosa could be fined up to $15,000 a day if it were found still discharging nurdles. That would put…

Plastic additive linked to excessive reproductive abnormalities

New findings shed light as to how DEHP, a common chemical in plastic, may impact human reproductive health.

New Citizen Science Project Asks: Is It Snowing Plastics?

The PlastiX-Snow project will track microplastics that contaminate Earth’s most remote and pristine locations.

Plastics Plant Will Bulldoze Over Black History in ‘Cancer Alley’

A major plastics manufacturing complex planned for construction in a highly-polluted region of Louisiana may disrupt a historic slave burial site, The Intercept reports.Human remains and evidence of grave shafts were discovered earlier this year…

Accelerating plastic recovery in the United States

By Thomas Hundertmark, Manuel Prieto   12/01/19  
Plastic has become ubiquitous in modern life. It keeps our food from spoiling, helps us transport goods with less energy and less breakage than other materials, makes our vehicles lighter and more energy efficient, and…

Boyan Slat Unveils the Ocean Cleanup Interceptor

By Dr. Joseph Mercola   11/30/19  
Boyan Slat, a young Dutch entrepreneur and his group, The Ocean Cleanup, have invented an ingenious collection barge to clean plastic debris from our oceans

Plastic waste on polar bears’ menu a growing problem

Plastic waste makes up a quarter of the diet for polar bears, says Ivan Mizin, research director of Russian Arctic national park.

Recycling isn’t working – here are 15 ways to shrink your plastic footprint

By Emily Holden  Illustration: Sonny Ross/The Guardian   11/27/19  
Only 9% of plastics get recycled, and significant reductions will require systemic change – but there are easy tips for individuals to cut back

Most Americans would pay more to avoid using plastic, poll says

By Laura Santhanam   11/26/19  
Two-thirds of Americans are willing to pay more for everyday items made out of environmentally sustainable materials instead of single-use plastic, according to a survey from PBS NewsHour and Marist Poll.

She visited every country on Earth. She saw a world overwhelmed by plastic trash.

By Catharine Smith   11/15/19  
Travel blogger Jessica Nabongo saw the effects of plastic pollution all over the world.

Where plastic outnumbers fish by seven to one

By Helen Briggs   11/12/19  
Plastic is building up in the areas of the ocean where fish feed and grow, according to research.

Every human should be alarmed by the plastic crisis in our oceans

By Editorial Board   10/26/19  
“WITHOUT CHANGE,” warns a bipartisan group of senators, “there will be more plastic by weight than fish in the oceans by 2050.” Some of the signs of this growing crisis are visible: sea turtles caught in discarded…

Los Angeles is testing ‘plastic asphalt’ that makes it possible to recycle roads

By Adele Peters  Photo: TechniSoil Industrial   10/24/19  
By mixing recycled plastic bottles with chewed up asphalt, the new process repaves a road without adding any new asphalt—and makes it from a material that lasts longer.

Coca-Cola named most polluting brand in plastic waste audit

Coca-Cola was responsible for more plastic litter than the next top three polluters combined.

How Coca-Cola undermines plastic recycling efforts

Audio obtained by The Intercept reveals how Coca-Cola’s “green” philanthropy helped squelch an important tool in fighting the plastic crisis.

WATCH: How plastics—and the chemicals in and attached to them—threaten future generations

Redesign plastics. Reform chemical regulation. Recharge health advocates. That was the take-home message from Pete Myers—chair, founder, and chief scientist of Environmental Health Sciences, publisher of Environmental Health News—at the Plastic Health Summit 2019, which…

Dead Baby Turtle Found With 104 Pieces of Plastic in Stomach

By Jordan Davidson  Photo: City of Boca Raton / Gumbo Limbo Nature Center   10/07/19  
A baby sea turtle that washed ashore in Boca Raton, Florida last week had 104 pieces of plastic in it stomach. The plastic products ranged from wrappers to balloons to bottle labels to twist ties…

Unilever pledges to halve its use of new plastic by 2025

By Siddharth Cavale   10/07/19  
Consumer goods giant Unilever vowed to halve the amount of new plastic it uses over the next five years, by shifting to more recyclable and alternative materials and refillable options to meet consumer demand for…

Ocean Cleanup Project Finally Collects Plastic From Great Pacific Garbage Patch

By Michel Martin   10/05/19  
That giant pile of plastic trash in the ocean just got a little smaller. Dutch inventor Boyan Slat's Ocean Cleanup project recently collected its first plastic from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

VIDEO: The plastics industry’s fight to blame pollution on you

The plastics industry has been promoting recycling and shaming “litterbugs” while fighting legislation that would limit plastics production.

Federal ‘Save Our Seas’ bill spurs debate over plastics recycling

By Katie Pyzyk E.A. Crunden  Photo: Brian Yurasits on Unsplash   10/02/19  
A multi-pronged piece of federal legislation known as the "Save Our Seas 2.0 Act" (collectively S.1982) recently made multiple advancements, despite recent opposition. Two bills (S.2260 and S.2372) were passed in their respective U.S. Senate…

P&G exec: Promising sustainability is easy; delivering on that promise is hard

By Jim Johnson  Photo: Jim Johnson   10/02/19  
Pledging to use recycled plastics in new packaging is easy. Actually doing it is a different story, according to an executive at one of the world's largest consumer goods companies.

The Ocean Cleanup successfully catches plastic in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

By The Ocean Cleanup   10/02/19  
Consumer goods giant Unilever vowed to halve the amount of new plastic it uses over the next five years, by shifting to more recyclable and alternative materials and refillable options to meet consumer demand for…

‘The Ocean Cleanup’ ship sweeps first Pacific plastic

By Charlotte Van Ouwerkerk  Photo by Josh Edelson   10/02/19  
A special ship designed to clean the oceans has harvested its first plastic from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch since setting sail from San Francisco last month, its Dutch inventor said Wednesday.

How industry ‘environmental’ group helped foil California’s plastics crackdown

By Dustin Gardiner   10/01/19  
SACRAMENTO — State lawmakers were on the verge of passing landmark bills to combat plastic pollution when a new advocacy group with a seemingly innocuous name arrived.

How industry ‘environmental’ group helped foil California’s plastics crackdown

By Dustin Gardiner  Photo: Lea Suzuki / The Chronicle   10/01/19  
State lawmakers were on the verge of passing landmark bills to combat plastic pollution when a new advocacy group with a seemingly innocuous name arrived.