The U.S. and UK produce more plastic waste per person than any other country in the world, according to a study published in the journal Science Advances.
The peer-reviewed study shows the U.S. is the largest producer of plastic waste. The study notes that American citizens may rank as high as third globally when it comes to coastal plastic pollution. Data suggests that more than half of the plastic collected for recycling in the U.S. has been exported to developing countries that are already struggling to manage plastic waste adequately, effectively masking the U.S.’s brutal contribution to plastic waste. The analysis found that U.S. plastic waste input into its coastal environment was between 0.51 and 1.45 million metric tons.
Despite comprising only 4% of the global population, the United States is responsible for 17% of its plastic waste. The study estimated that on average, each American generates as much as 287 pounds of plastic waste per person each year, while the Brits slightly trail at 218 pounds.