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Plastic Waste More Pressing Than Climate Change

By Doug Woodring

- Published on March 6, 2015 by Wharton Magazine

You may have read recent reports about the University of Georgia’s Jenna Jambeck and team, who estimated the amount of plastic waste that makes its way to the ocean every year. If not, that number is roughly 8 million tons per year.

What does this mean to you and me?

It is the same as placing five garbage bags of trash on every foot of the 217,000 miles of coastline on our planet. This is just plastic, but to put the World Bank’s estimates of global municipal solid waste (MSW) production into perspective, it would be like covering all of California in 10 yards-deep of waste each year.

The scarier fact is that some predict the 8 million total will double within 15 years as populations growth and consumption takes its toll on our resources.

So— it is worth asking— is our waste footprint a bigger concern than climate change?


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