America’s current system of consumption and disposal incentivize waste.
Because less than one-tenth of plastic gets recycled — the other 91% gets dumped in landfills or incinerated — there's really only one way to truly protect our planet from this harmful form of waste: Use less of it in the first place.
To keep our environment clean, protect our wildlife, and address the mounting climate crisis, we need to move toward a zero waste future.
Fortunately, we have the tools to shift away from our wasteful, polluting and costly system. To do this, we need to reduce material consumption first and foremost. Next, we need to ensure that we make every effort to reuse, refurbish and repair everything we create. Finally, we’ll need to prioritize recycling or composting all remaining materials.
Choosing wildlife over waste will require a concerted effort from environmentalists and citizen advocates across the country. While this task may be daunting, we need to move beyond single-use plastics and towards a more sustainable, zero-waste future.
That is why Environment America supports banning the sale of single-use plastics, such as polystyrene cups, plastic bags and packaging to reduce pollution in our waters and protect wildlife.
Interested in learning more? Read the full “Trash In America” report.