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What the United States Really Does With Trash

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Earth Day, recycling and plastics: what the United States really does with waste

  • According to the researchers, only 9% of all plastic waste ever created has been recycled.
  • Last year, the United States exported 74,000 containers of plastic waste to low-income countries, said researcher Jan Dell.
  • For decades, China has been the main destination for global plastic waste. Today, more and more Latin American countries are becoming hotspots.

That take-out plastic container you throw in a recycling bin? Chances are you’re doing little for the environment.

The packaging could end up in a landfill in the United States or be shipped overseas and burned. The tiny plastic particles can eventually show up in your blood, rain, and air.

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