The average American consumer produces just under five pounds of trash each day, while a family creates about 18 pounds. Multiplying those numbers by 365 days for the year, it all adds up to: 1,642 pounds per person. 6,570 pounds per family.


What You Should Know

  • A tiny part of plastic used is actually being recycled or incinerated in waste-to-energy facilities. Much of it ends up in landfills, where it may take up to 1,000 years to decompose, leaching potentially toxic substances into the soil and water.

  • 300 million tons of plastic is produced every year. Less than 25% of that plastic is reclaimed or recycled and a staggering 8.8 million tons end up in our oceans.

  • Only 9% of all plastic waste ever produced has been recycled. About 12% has been incinerated, while the rest — 79% — has accumulated in landfills, dumps or the natural environment.

  • Most plastics are not biodegradable and only after hundreds of years of exposure to UV rays do they breakdown, and even then, only into microscopic plastic particles.​

  • ​Grazing and scavenging animals, such as cows, seagulls, dogs and camels, regularly eat plastic that has been​ contaminated with human food.

  • Fleece and synthetic clothing shed microplastics into the water with each washing. In fact, a fleece jacket sheds about 2,000 pieces of plastic per washing. Wastewater treatment plants do not have the ability to screen these tiny pieces, meaning they end up in both the discharged water and the sludge that is composted.

  • A 2017 United Nations resolution discussed microplastics and the need for regulations to reduce this hazard to our oceans, their wildlife, and human health.

  • Conventional laundry detergents often contain phosphates, which can cause harmful algal blooms that lead to dead zones in aquatic ecosystems.