Many man-made products have been outgrown by plastics and have long been under environmental scrutiny. There is, however, a lack of robust global knowledge , particularly about their end-of-life fate.
The first global study of all mass-produced plastics ever manufactured by defining and synthesizing dispersed data on production, use, and end-of-life management of polymer resins, synthetic fibers, and additives was produced in 2017 by Science Advances.
They estimated that, to date, 8300 million metric tons ( Mt) have been made from virgin plastics. As of 2015, approximately 6300 Mt of plastic waste was produced, of which approximately 9 percent was recycled, 12 percent was incinerated, and 79 percent was deposited in landfills or the natural environment. Approximately 12,000 Mt of plastic waste would be in landfills or in the natural environment by 2050 if current development and waste management trends continue.