Plastics Overview Fact Sheet

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The oceans face a massive and growing threat from something we encounter every day: plastics. An estimated 17.6 billion pounds of plastic enters the marine environment every year — roughly equivalent to dumping a garbage truck full of plastic into the oceans every minute.

Plastics have a profound design flaw: they are made to last forever but are often only used for a few moments. Plastic breaks up into smaller and smaller pieces, ultimately becoming microplastics that act as magnets for harmful chemical pollutants. When eaten by fish and shellfish, some of the contaminants from microplastics work their way into our food supply. Everything from salt to honey to beer has been found to contain microplastics.

The Plastics Overview Fact Sheet details the lifecycle of plastic and its profound impacts on our environment, from harming ocean wildlife to working its way into our food, water, and air.

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