Plastic bag and straw bans arrived in full force in 2018 across the planet — why did we suddenly become conscious of plastic waste?
On average, an American family uses 1,500 plastic bags each year — with over 126 million households in the US, that equals more than 100 billion plastic bags.
This inconceivable figure is even more troubling when one considers it's only the tip of the iceberg.
Although recent environmental awareness trends have brought the issue of plastic waste to the fore, only 9% of plastics worldwide are actually recycled.
Plastic bag and straw bans now span the globe, but why did this plastic revolt seem to flare up so suddenly in 2018?
NBC Left Field’s Matt Danzico travelled to unofficial plastic scrap yards in China, explored the streets of Thailand, and then came back home to recycling centres in New Jersey to better understand how so-called plastic disgust is seeping into conversations.
You can find out more about why we finally started talking about plastics in the above video player.