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The Issue

Nearly 60 percent of food produced in Canada – amounting to 35.5 million metric tonnes – is lost and wasted annually. Of that, 32 percent – equalling 11.2 million metric tonnes of lost food – is avoidable and is edible food that could be redirected to support people in our communities.

The total financial value of this potentially rescuable lost and wasted food is a staggering $49.46 billion.

The millions of tons of plastic swirling around the world’s oceans have garnered a lot of media attention recently. But plastic pollution arguably poses a bigger threat to the plants and animals – including humans – who are based on land.

Very little of the plastic we discard every day is recycled or incinerated in waste-to-energy facilities. Much of it ends up in landfills, where it may take up to 1,000 years to decompose, leaching potentially toxic substances into the soil and water.

Planet or Plastic? is National Geographic’s multiyear effort to raise awareness about the global plastic trash crisis. Come to this page often to learn more, find out what you can do to reduce your own single-use plastics and take your pledge.

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