Woman putting plastic bottles in recycle bins
Woman putting plastic bottles in recycle bins

Did you know that the United States generated 35.7 million tons of plastics in 2018, with more than 18.5 million tons ending up as municipal solid waste? This includes plastic containers and packaging, polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles and jars, and high-density polyethylene (HDPE) natural bottles.While only 8.7% of plastics were recycled in 2018, certain types of plastic were recycled more often than others, including PET bottles and jars (29.1%) and HDPE natural bottles (29.3%).

Not all consumer plastics can be recycled. The majority of community recycling programs accept some, but not all, types of plastics. …


It’s February, and love is in the air — sort of. Over the past few years, there has been a steady decrease in the number of Americans who celebrate Valentine’s Day, down to just 51% according to a survey from the National Retail Federation. However, total spending this February 14 is expected to be around $20.7 billion, an increase of 6% over last year.

If you’re a part of that 51% who still plan on celebrating with a loved one, you probably have some idea of how things will go: a flashy Valentine’s card, a box of chocolates, and an…


An expert offers tips for gaining public buy-in on complex health matters

1942. The South Pacific. US troops fighting in the Pacific Theater were facing down their toughest foe yet — the humble mosquito.

According to the US Army Center of Military History, Army medical personnel treated over 47,000 cases of malaria that year, with roughly a quarter of all troops in the area being infected.

Things back at home were not much better, either. While not reaching the levels seen overseas, malaria was a common problem throughout the southern part of the US, particularly in areas where military training bases were located. …


This year has been a challenging one for our country. Recent tragic events such as birder Christian Cooper’s assault in Central Park and the nationwide Black Lives Matter protests in response to police brutality and systemic racial injustice and violence have forced many institutions, including the environmental movement, to confront their implicit biases and lack of diversity.

While this reckoning has been difficult, it has also produced some unexpected bright spots. Inclusive social media campaigns such as Black Birders Week, Black Hikers Week, and #BlackAFinSTEM have provided a platform for the underrepresented voices of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color…


As the United States battles the COVID-19 pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advise the general public to remain close to home, distanced from others, and masked to help slow the spread of the virus. These necessary guidelines have impacted many facets of daily life in America, including travel to public lands across the country during the typically busy summer and fall months.

Without access to public lands, people are less able to connect with nature, enjoy unique wildlife experiences, and engage in conservation activities outside of their home. …


Scientists estimate that over 8 million tons of plastic enter our oceans each year. While we have all seen the plastic bottles, bags, and straws that contribute to the plastic pollution problem, one major source of plastic pollution is less obvious: our clothes. The majority of clothing on the planet is made from plastic-based materials like polyester, rayon, nylon, and acrylic. When washed, synthetic clothing sheds tiny plastic fragments known as microfibers. Microfibers are the most prevalent type of microplastic (plastic pieces less than 5 mm in diameter) found in the environment.

Infographic: Ways to reduce microfibers, © National Environmental Education Foundation.
Infographic: Ways to reduce microfibers, © National Environmental Education Foundation.

Though we cannot see them, plastic microfibers are…


Americans produce about 4.5 pounds of trash per person each day. Our Municipal Solid Waste (MSW), or trash, is comprised of items people throw away, including packaging, food, yard trimmings, furniture, electronics, tires and appliances.

Over the last 60 years or so, the amount of waste produced at the consumer level in the United States has increased by about 300%, from about 88 million tons in 1960 to about 268 million tons in 2017. To put that in perspective, the Washington Monument — all 555 feet of its height plus the below-ground foundation — weighs 100,000 tons, meaning that the…

National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF)

NEEF’s mission is to make the environment more accessible, relatable, relevant, and connected to people’s daily lives. neefusa.org

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