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"With packaging holding in place nearly all of our consumer desires, slow decomposition rates, and swirling debris fields the size of Texas in our oceans – it seems plastic isn’t going anywhere fast. A recent Comment piece in Nature by authors Chelsea Rochman at UC Davis and Mark Anthony Browne at UC Santa Barbara offers a rare posturing by scientists, suggesting an actionable item to address this problem: classifying some plastic waste as hazardous.
According to the piece, last year humans collectively produced 280 million tons of plastic, only half of which was recycled or sent to a designated area like landfills, where it will slowly decay. Some of the remaining plastic remains in use, but the rest is unaccounted for, littering our planet. (See an infographic on plastic bags.)