The Ocean Conservancy has 35 years of data from its worldwide beach cleanups and the results aren't pretty.
About 70 percent of what teams of volunteers collect is not effectively recyclable, and about half of that is food and beverage packaging waste. It's a "recyclability crisis," the group said in a new report.
The OC's 36th International Coastal Cleanup kicked off Sept. 18 and continues through the rest of the year, with thousands of events that typically attract about a million volunteers. OC said records from the first 35 years of the cleanup constitute "the world's largest database on marine litter."
It points fingers at food-related waste, saying that items like straws, cutlery and takeout containers are more than 60 percent of what's collected.
A survey conducted this summer also shows that Americans have very inaccurate ideas about what food packaging can actually be recycled. One-third erroneously believed that expanded polystyrene could be recycled in curbside bins, and nearly six in 10 Americans incorrectly said the plastic-coated paper beverage containers could also be recycled.
Thanks to Assistant Managing Editor Steve Toloken for this item.