Recently, a team of scientists from the University of Georgia, the University of California, Santa Barbara and Sea Education Association, launched the first global analysis of the production, use and fate of all plastics ever made.
They found that by 2015, humans had generated 8.3 billion metric tons of plastics, 6.3 billion tons of which had already become waste. Of that waste total, only 9 percent was recycled, 12 percent was incinerated and 79 percent accumulated in landfills or the natural environment.
If current trends continue, roughly 12 billion metric tons of plastic waste will be in landfills or the natural environment by 2050.
According to this study, global production of plastics increased from 2 million metric tons in 1950 to over 400 million metric tons in 2015, outgrowing most other human-made materials.