In 2019, more than 20.8 million tons of trash were collected from beaches in 116 countries (Ocean Conservancy).
For 34 years, the cigarette filter topped the list of beach trash. This year, food wrappers have climbed to number one with more than 4.7 million wrappers collected. Other items in the top ten include bottles and caps, straws and stirrers, cups, lids, takeaway containers and plastic bags.
“Food wrappers taking over as the number one item merely underscores the unsustainable production of single-use, disposable food and beverage packaging,” said Nicholas Mallos, who directs the Ocean Conservancy’s Trash-Free Seas program.
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