Document Type

Article

Department/Program

Virginia Institute of Marine Science

Publication Date

6-8-2020

Journal

Environmental Science and Technology

Volume

54

Issue

12

First Page

7034

Last Page

7036

Abstract

Waste plastics are a serious and growing environmental problem. Less than 10% of plastics are recycled, with most discarded in landfills, incinerated, or simply abandoned.1 Single-use plastics constitute about half of plastic waste. While most plastics are used and initially disposed of on land, much eventually enters aquatic ecosystems.2 Wildlife mortalities result from encounters (e.g., ingestion and entanglement) with large debris, including plastic bags. Such bags are excluded from many recycling programs, as they can entangle machinery. Most plastics do not readily biodegrade in the environment. However, they can be embrittled by UV exposure and fragment into microplastics (<5 >mm) and nanoplastics (

DOI

doi: 10.1021/acs.est.0c02269

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