How Much Do You Know About Recycling and Composting Plastic?

How Much Do You Know About Recycling and Composting Plastic?
A woman depositing a plastic bottle in a recycling bin in Worcestershire, UK.
A woman depositing a plastic bottle in a recycling bin in Worcestershire, UK.
Andrew Fox GettyImages

The global plastic pollution problem is enormously challenging. The material is used in a huge range of products—from food packaging and children’s toys to car tires, household appliances, and commercial packaging—and at the current rates of production, use, and disposal, the annual amount of plastic waste entering Earth’s ecosystems could almost triple by 2040. Still, plastic pollution is a solvable problem—and you can help.

Take this quiz to see if you’re ready to help break the plastic wave.

The front facade of the Supreme Court of the United States in Washington, DC.
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Agenda for America

Resources for federal, state, and local decision-makers

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Data-driven policymaking is not just a tool for finding new solutions for emerging challenges, it makes government more effective and better able to serve the public interest.

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States of Innovation

Data-driven state policy innovations across America

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Data-driven policymaking is not just a tool for finding new solutions for difficult challenges. When states serve their traditional role as laboratories of innovation, they increase the American people’s confidence that the government they choose—no matter the size—can be effective, responsive, and in the public interest.

Underwater shot of plastic bottle
Underwater shot of plastic bottle
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Breaking the Plastic Wave

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Plastic has become ubiquitous on store shelves and in our homes. From wrapped food and disposable bottles to microbeads in body washes, it’s used widely as packaging or in products because it’s versatile, cheap, and convenient. But this convenience comes with a price.

Microplastics sample in a jar
Microplastics sample in a jar
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Microplastics Are a Big Part of Global Pollution

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Ocean plastic pollution is an urgent and global problem. The Pew Charitable Trusts’ recent report, “Breaking the Plastic Wave,” and accompanying paper in the journal Science, provides the results of an ambitious modeling effort to understand how plastic production, use, and disposal contribute to this issue. Most of the attention paid to the issue has focused on daily-use goods such as food and consumer product packaging. However, Pew found that tiny fragments known as microplastics make up significant amounts of ocean plastic pollution that are often not accounted for in pollution estimates or possible solutions.

Breaking the Plastic Wave | Pew