via Mike Mozart / Flickr

By the end of the decade, over half a trillion single-use plastic bottles will be sold annually. In 2016, fewer than half those bottles were picked up for recycling and just seven percent were turned into new bottles.

The Coca-Cola Company, which owns Coke products and some of the biggest brands in the beverage industry, including Minute Maid, Sprite, Dasani, and Smart Water, is responsible for over 100 billion single-use plastic bottles produced annually.

Americans, especially millennials, are becoming increasingly concerned with the dangers caused by single-use plastics. A study published in Market Watch found 73 percent of millennials would pay more for sustainable products compared with 66 percent among all generations.

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Since plastic was first invented in 1907, over 8.3 billion tons has been produced, of which 79% has either wound up in a landfill or the natural environment.

About a third of this plastic are single-use products such as straws, cutlery, and shopping bags. Plastic bags now kill over 1000,000 marine animals a year and the Great Pacific garbage patch has grown past 1.6 million square kilometers.

Unfortunately, plastic production on Earth is showing no signs of slowing. According to The Guardian, plastic production is set to skyrocket over the next 10 to 15 years, with over 360 million tons produced in 2018 alone.

One way we can work to decrease the amount of plastic produced is to change how and where we shop. Greenpeace has taken the lead by ranking 20 of America's top supermarket chains in terms of how they're fighting the plastic crisis.

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