Britain's Royal Statistical Society has announced its 2018 Statistic of the Year—but there's little reason to celebrate.
The society called attention to the growing problem that plastic presents to the environment with this sobering figure: 90.5% of plastic has never been recycled.
90.5 %! Britain’s Royal Statistical Society selects eye-opening % of plastic that's never recycled as statistic of… https://t.co/aoPQ8E9VyT— SEA Semester (@SEA Semester)1545239884.0
While plastic can be refurbished for nearly unlimited reuse, plastic waste can often take centuries to break down and its presence in the environment threatens wildlife of land and sea.
Twitter saw why the statistic was notable.
@usnews Unacceptable!— Atilrak (@Atilrak)1545234447.0
@CBSNews Here’s where I get on board with environmentalists. Plastic litter is a real threat.— Joe spina (@Joe spina)1545184205.0
@usnews we must do more for our earth— bumpy (@bumpy)1545234004.0
@CBSNews Plastic: Worse than Trump— The Fishing Rabbit (@The Fishing Rabbit)1545183794.0
@TheRealLukevans I will be more careful— Carlenna Brattin (@Carlenna Brattin)1545156247.0
Until 2017, numerous countries including the United States imported nearly half of all plastic waste to China for recycling. That arrangement fell through with China's passage of the National Sword policy which forbade further plastic imports to the region.
As a result, the plastic refuse of several nations is beginning to pile up, and many don't have a plan for allowing the plastic recycling process to go uninterrupted.
Locally, it's become harder to recycle plastic waste.
@CBSNews My area won't take plastic at all to recycle!— 🐘 MisFit 🐘 Island 🐘 (@🐘 MisFit 🐘 Island 🐘)1545186022.0
@SundayBrunchC4 @lizbonnin @Channel4 I have lots of old plastic straws and my local recycling center doesn't take t… https://t.co/WZs59OEI1w— Paul Baker (@Paul Baker)1543144065.0
The problem may seem insurmountable, but most are in agreement that action must be taken.
Some had their own suggestions for alternatives.
@CBSNews Why don't we encourage usage of biodegradable material such as jute, hemp etc for packing, storage etc.— MNC (@MNC)1545204890.0
@CBSNews switched to paper straws and they let you slurp up that soda as good as the plastic one— Michele (@Michele)1545183960.0
@TheRealLukevans Luke, in New Zealand all supermarkets no longer will be using plastic bags for carry bags. At leas… https://t.co/HeaRuCccff— Adèle's Luke Evans (@Adèle's Luke Evans)1545136124.0
But change is only going to come with widespread action—and we have our work cut out for us.
@TheRealLukevans The hardest thing is to change people's minds. Sadly, people who don't care are still too many. It… https://t.co/RUYqTLUbmN— Jessica Martins (@Jessica Martins)1545161319.0
@TheRealLukevans A very long way to go, Luke. We're murdering our world & everything in it, including ourselves.— Liz Older (@Liz Older)1545138354.0
@TheRealLukevans I will be more careful.💧— Sakkoogasawara (@Sakkoogasawara)1545136584.0
Hopefully the Statistical Society's decision will result in more exposure of the problem and awareness will eventually bring action.