International Statistic of the Year for 2018

colorful plastic cups and one glass jar

The fact that 90.5% of plastic waste has never been recycled won the title of “International Statistic of the Year for 2018” by the Royal Statistical Society (RSS).

Estimated at 6,300 million metric tonnes, it’s thought that around 12% of all plastic waste has been incinerated, with roughly 79% accumulating in either landfill or the natural environment.

The statistic is based on Production, use, and fate of all plastics ever made, published July 19, 2017 in the journal Science Advances.

The authors note that “plastics’ largest market is packaging, an application whose growth was accelerated by a global shift from reusable to single-use containers … None of the commonly used plastics are biodegradable. As a result, they accumulate, rather than decompose, in landfills or the natural environment.”

Source: Statistics of the Year 2018: Winners announced, December 17, 2018