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The first plastic bag was manufactured in 1950, just a few years after the first plastic bottles became commercially available. Since then, about 8,300-million tons of plastic have been manufactured, half of which has been produced since 2005. Only one quarter of this is still in use — and, given the small volumes that have been recycled, incinerated or turned into energy — most of the remaining four-fifths is waste. The plastic that is not captured in landfill finds its way into nature. Some estimates suggest that the volume leaking into the ocean is the equivalent of emptying a rubbish truck into the sea every minute of every day. The culprit is the 100-million tons — or 40% of global plastic production — manufactured every year for packaging and other single-use applications such as cigarette filters, earbuds, sweet wrappers, coffee cup lids — and almost all become worthless rubbish after use. The rapid rise in single-use plastic consumption has left many countries unable to cope...

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