A series by InvestigateWest examining one of the most problematic pollutants of the 21st century: plastic. This project was funded in part by the Sustainable Path Foundation.
Plastic production has skyrocketed since the 1950s, with a cumulative metric ton – more than 2,200 pounds of the stuff – created for every single person on the planet by 2015, according to Our World in Data. Less than 20 percent of the increasing amount of plastic created each year ends up getting recycled, with the rest destined to be burned or tossed in a landfill. As researchers document its presence in the air we breathe, food we eat and water we drink, lawmakers, scientists and even some manufacturers are pushing for changes to how we make, reuse and dispose of plastic. With our “Problem of Plastic” series, InvestigateWest will touch on efforts to address the problem through legislative solutions, the scope of plastic pollution in the Pacific Northwest, and how consumers and producers can shift our focus to reuse the plastic we’ve already created.