Versatile, pliable, durable, cheap to produce—and ubiquitous. Plastic is all of that. It is also both a life-saving miracle product and the scourge of the Earth. Here are eight essential facts to keep in mind.

In December 2018, Great Britain’s Royal Statistical Society named the fact that only about nine percent of all plastic ever made has likely been recycled its statistic of the year. Read on for more facts on the global plastic pollution crisis.

This article was created in partnership with the National Geographic Society. National Geographic is committed to reducing plastics pollution. Learn more about our non-profit activities at This article was first published on May 16, 2018 and updated on December 20.


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