September 01, 2018
The production of plastic has grown 8 percent a year for decades, much more than any other manufactured material, because plastic is just so useful. We use it for packaging (43%) and construction (20%); we have plastic in our clothes, our cars, our computers.
Plastic really is everywhere.
“Roland Geyer, an industrial ecologist at the University of California, Santa Barbara, says no one had tallied how much plastic people have manufactured since its invention. When he did it, he was shocked at what he found. 'Eight point three billion metric tons of plastics produced so far. That's just really a staggering amount.' He did some calculations to understand that number. 'And it turned out that it can cover an area the size of Argentina,' he says, 'which is the eighth-largest country in the world.'