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This Disturbing Statistic About Plastic Was Just Named Statistic of the Year For All the Wrong Reasons

NAPOLI, CAMPANIA, ITALY - 2018/10/30: A beach in Naples covered with plastic waste and debris brought by the storm of recent days. The bad weather that struck Naples has caused a lot of damage and inconvenience also on the beaches. (Photo by Salvatore Laporta/KONTROLAB /LightRocket via Getty Images)

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.


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.

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.

The problem may seem insurmountable, but most are in agreement that action must be taken.

Some had their own suggestions for alternatives.

But change is only going to come with widespread action—and we have our work cut out for us.

Hopefully the Statistical Society's decision will result in more exposure of the problem and awareness will eventually bring action.