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Column: Over one million tons of plastic isn’t going where we think  

plastic waste

San Luis Obispo County Integrated Waste Management shares how to help

– If you think ocean plastic and other plastic litter isn’t a big problem in the U.S., think again. A recent study by Science Advances found that somewhere between 1.2 and 2.5 million tons of U.S.-generated plastic aren’t properly disposed of each year. In other words, it is being littered or illegally dumped instead of being recycled or landfilled.

According to the study, it’s likely that as much as 1.6 million tons of our plastic waste makes its way into the ocean each year – making the U.S. the third worst plastic polluter in the world. In previous studies, the U.S. didn’t even rank as high as the top ten plastic polluters, but researchers said that was because we weren’t tracking everything.

So what can you do about it? Every small action helps! Do your best to avoid plastic in the first place. Purchase as little plastic as possible and refuse disposable plastic items. Then, make sure to dispose of plastic items correctly by looking them up in this Recycling Guide.

Get involved

Join clean-up events and groups in the SLO County area. Check out the following for more information on how you can volunteer:

 

By helping to mitigate the trash in your community, you can prevent it from ending up in waterways.

From the San Luis Obispo County Integrated Waste Management Authority.  

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