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A food delivery courier packs an order in Bangkok on March 25, 2020, after the government limited restaurants to takeout during the COVID-19 pandemic. MLADEN ANTONOV / AFP / Getty Images

By Tanika Godbole

Southeast Asia is one of the biggest sources of plastic waste from land to the ocean, and Thailand is among the top five contributors. In January, Thailand placed a ban on single-use plastic, and was looking to reduce its plastic waste by 30% this year.

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Only the paper part of a drink carton would be recycled everything else, including the plastic coating or layer or aluminum foil, would be incinerated as residual waste. tavan amonratanasareegul / Getty Images

By Jeannette Cwienk

When it comes to recycling and recyclability, very little, it seems is straightforward — even something as seemingly simple as orange juice can present a conundrum. In Germany, many smaller shops sell drinks in cartons or plastic bottles, both of which will end up in the yellow recycling bin. But how do their recycling credentials stack up?

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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Plastic waste from the nearby city of Ushuaia is polluting nests and being found in penguins' stomachs and excrement. Deutsche Welle

Tierra del Fuego is at the southernmost tip of South America and is sometimes known as the "end of the world." This windswept part of Argentina is home to seven penguin colonies which breed, nest and feed in the area.

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Chemical recycling involves sorting plastic by type, grinding into powders, and mixing and melting into the same kind of polymers from which the powders were generated. sturti / Getty Images

By Brigitte Osterath

Yogurt pots, shampoo bottles, coffee-to-go lids, bubble wrap — plastic products are all composed of the same building blocks: long carbon chains.

Heating them to high temperatures makes the carbon chains crack into a mixture of shorter molecules, ultimately converting them back into crude oil, the resource from which the majority of plastic products were originally made.

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Cocoa Beach saw a huge spike in trash as cleanup crews collected more than 13,000 pounds strewn across the sand over the weekend. Jeffrey Greenberg / Universal Images Group via Getty Images

When beaches in Florida reopened last week, people flocked to them to absorb the sun, sand and water. Unfortunately, many forgot to take their trash with them when they left.

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Olives growing on a tree in Pula, Croatia. Sebastian Rothe / EyeEm / Getty Images

By Stuart Braun

1.3 billion plastic bottles are sold daily around the world. And that's just the tip of the fossil-based plastic iceberg. Plastic preserves our food. It's in the nylon and polyester we wear, and it protects medical staff from the coronavirus.

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A man receives a food delivery in plastic bags at his home. Alex Potemkin / Getty Images

By Daiane Scaraboto, Alison M Joubert and Claudia Gonzalez-Arcos

In eight years, US environmentalist and social media star Lauren Singer had never sent an item of rubbish to landfill. But last month, in an impassioned post to her 383,000 Instagram followers, she admitted the reality of COVID-19 has changed that.

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A plastic shopping bag lies on the ground at the Calabasas landfill on January 22, 2008. Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times / Getty Images

The plastics industry is asking the federal government for a $1 billion bailout to help recycling during the pandemic.

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A used latex glove is seen abandoned as trash on a street floor on April 6 in Milan, Italy. Vincenzo Lombardo / Getty Images

By Nikolia Apostolou

Over a month into the lockdown and the usually bustling streets of Kalamata, a Greek city southwest of Athens traditionally known for its olives, are largely empty.

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A garbage yard in Lucknow, India where plastic bottles are dumped before being sent to recycling. Abhimanyu Kumar Sharma / Moment / Getty Images

Scientists have engineered a mutant enzyme that converts 90 percent of plastic bottles back to pristine starting materials that can then be used to produce new high-quality bottles in just hours. The discovery could revolutionize the recycling industry, which currently saves about 30 percent of PET plastics from landfills, reported Science Magazine.

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Aerial shot top view Garbage trucks unload garbage to a recycle in the vicinity of the city of Bangkok, Thailand. bugto / Moment / Getty Images

German researchers have identified a strain of bacterium that not only breaks down toxic plastic, but also uses it as food to fuel the process, according to The Guardian.

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