Share of plastic waste that is incinerated, recycled, and discarded

percent, 1980–2050

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Estimates of the proportion of plastic waste discarded, recycled, and incinerated.

Geyer et al. (2017) note an average linear rate of increase in recycling of 0.7% per year from 1990 onwards, and 0.7% per year for incineration from 1980 onwards.

Data for 1980-2015 is based on historical estimates. Data from 2016-2050 is based solely on the extrapolation of consistent growth trends of 0.7% for recycling and incineration; it therefore represents business-as-usual growth but should not be interpreted as a direct projection.

Source: Geyer et al. (2017) Production, use, and fate of all plastics ever made.