Plastic waste disposal in the US in 2008 was 86% (29.2 million tons) landfilled, 8% (2.7 million tons) incinerated and 6% (2 million tons) recycled.  Only 9% of all plastic ever discarded in the US since 1950 has been recycled.  Although recycling plastics is increasing around the world, the rates vary by country.

Japan is by far the most successful with nearly 80% of its plastic waste recycled every year, while the U.S. recycles just 9%.  Plastic bag bans are spreading in the US.

As part of the UUCC Climate Crisis Team, we have formed the Plastics sub-team.  If you would like to participate, please contact Robin Hessey,

The Story of Plastic (a climate justice film)

We invite you to watch The Story of Plastic, a 95-min film that takes a sweeping look at the human-made crisis of plastic pollution and the worldwide effect it has on the health of our planet and the people who inhabit it. Spanning three continents, the film illustrates the ongoing catastrophe: fields full of garbage, mountains of trash, rivers and seas clogged with waste, and skies choked with the poisonous emissions from plastic production and processing. We can do something about this!  View a panel discussion and refer to Howard County Climate Action’s resources page.

Single-Use Plastics 101

Here’s everything you need to know about the most ubiquitous (and avoidable) kind of plastic waste: the kind made to be tossed in mere minutes.

Recent Changes in Howard County Recycling Guidelines

Howard County recently updated its list of recyclable items to exclude many items that were previously recyclable.  You might be surprised what is no longer recyclable, but keep in mind that keeping loads “clean” increases the probability that they will be actually recycled instead of put in a landfill.


Resources and Information