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Study: 1 to 2 million tons of US plastic trash go astray

FILE - In this Oct. 22, 2019, photo, plastic and other debris sits on the beach on Midway Atoll in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. According to a study released on Friday, Oct. 30, 2020, more than a million tons a year of America's plastic trash isn't ending up where it should. The equivalent of as many as 1,300 plastic grocery bags per person is landing in places such as oceans and roadways. (AP Photo/Caleb Jones)

By SETH BORENSTEIN AP Science Writer
A new study finds that well more than a million tons of plastic waste in the U.S. isn’t going where it should, instead ending up in oceans and rivers and along roads. Friday’s study examines what happened in 2016 to America’s plastic waste, finding up to 1.2 million to 2.5 million tons of it was mismanaged. This is the equivalent of a pile of plastic trash on the White House lawn the size of the Empire State Building. The waste was either littered, illegally dumped or exported then not properly disposed of abroad. But since 2016, the last year of good data, countries such as China have dramatically cut the amount of US trash they take in.

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