The solution to this epidemic will likely come from a combination of reduction targets (particularly with packaging and single-use plastics), innovation in materials science and significant investments in waste management infrastructures, with more interception points for ocean-bound plastic.
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Every piece of plastic that has ever been produced is still in existence today. A plastic toy you played with when you were a child is still out there somewhere – perhaps it now exists in a million tiny pieces, but the plastic is still plastic, and it’s not going away any time soon.