About 11 million tonnes of plastic waste flows into the ocean each year, according to the UN.
On International Plastic Bag Free Day, population correspondent Stephanie Hegarty asks how effective efforts are to recycle plastic.
She finds that even in countries where a large amount of plastic waste is collected, only part of it is actually recycled. Some may be shipped to a developing country, where it meets an unknown fate. Some – in Germany, for example – may be incinerated.
And when a plastic bottle is recycled it may be turned into products such as food trays or fabrics that are much less likely to be recycled at the end of their lives.