According to the University of Georgia, 90.5 percent of all plastic waste is not recycled. Jenna Jambeck, who worked on the research in association with the University of California SB, and the Sea Education Association on the groundbreaking research, said that “this statistic illustrates that many of the characteristics of plastic that make it so useful — it’s light-weight, can be any color and shape with additives — also can reduce its value at its end of life and make it difficult to manage in the waste stream... It often ends up unrecycled or mismanaged and ends up in our ocean. Besides reduction where appropriate, we need to design products and materials proactively to work within our waste and materials management systems.”
According to their findings, most plastic has never been recycled.
This statistic gives scale to the previously unknown magnitude of plastic waste. It doesn't chemically break down and instead winds up in landfills and in the ocean, presenting a real and extreme risk to marine life.