New Study Finds Fewer than 6% of US Plastics are Recycled

A new report from Beyond Plastics finds that only 6% of plastics in the US are recycled annually. 

A report recently published by the nonprofit Beyond Plastics has found that only 6% of plastics in the US are recycled. As far back as 2014, the US was recycling just under 10% of plastics, but that amount has been cut in half to somewhere between 5% – 6%. On top of the sharp decrease in recycling, the study also finds that the amount of plastic waste produced has increased significantly. 

The report proposed three solutions to help mitigate the rise in plastic waste:

  • Ban single-use plastics
  • Expand access to water refilling stations
  • Encourage reusable container programs for food and beverage service

The conversation around how to best handle plastics is not a new one. During this past legislative session, the General Assembly debated legislation introduced by Del. Brooke Leirman (HB 307), which aimed to encourage plastic producers to use more recyclable materials. The bill would have created an extended producer responsibility model whereby producers would pay fees to the state based on the recyclability of their packaging material. Those fees would then go into a fund to help recycling centers (which are mostly county-run) upgrade equipment and offset operational costs. While the legislation ultimately failed, its introduction highlights just how seriously leaders in Annapolis are taking plastics.

Read the full story here. 

Read the full report. 

Read more about Beyond Plastics. 

Read more about HB 307. 

Read MACo’s testimony on HB 307. 

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