Most Recent Trends
Visit the Worldwatch Institute Bookstore to download and purchase more of Worldwatch's award-winning research.
For more than 50 years, global production of plastic has continued to rise. Recovery and recycling, however, remain insufficient, and millions of tons of plastics end up in landfills and oceans each year.
In wealthy countries, paper is so ubiquitous that it comes in seemingly endless numbers of grades, types, shapes, and colors and is used for both mundane and highly specialized purposes. Too often, paper products are discarded soon after their purchase, and only a portion is recovered for recycling.
Global coal consumption rose 3 percent from 2012 to 2013, reaching over 3.8 billion tons of oil equivalent in 2013. While the pace of growth is down from 7.1 percent in 2010, the continued increase in coal consumption and the related carbon emissions cause substantial concern among climate scientists.