We only recycle 9% of the plastic we consume. For all the effort and fanfare, that's the sad truth. Less than 1/10 of the plastic we use winds up not buried in the ground, not dumped in the ocean, and not burned up in giant industrial incinerators. And we do use a lot — more than 380 million tons' worth every year, with about half of that going into "single-usage" products like disposable cups, plastic bottles, and merchandise containers. Recycling, as much as it makes us feel good to talk about to our friends and neighbours, is little more than a Band-Aid over a gushing head wound. It's simply not going to do the job of decreasing the environmental burden of plastic on our ecosystem. The solution we need will have to involve phasing out the manufacture of traditional plastics altogether and replacing them with something new.