Table 2 Defined terms used in this study and estimated values for each treatment category for U.S. plastic waste generated in 2016.

Mt, million metric tons.

Terms used in
this study
DefinitionTreatment of U.S.
plastic waste in
2016 (Mt)
Inadequately
managed waste
Solid waste that is not
collected and/or
properly contained
because of lack of
waste management
infrastructure
0
LitterSolid waste that is
intentionally or
unintentionally
disposed into the
environment despite
the availability of
waste management
infrastructure
0.84
Illegal dumpingDisposal of waste in
an unpermitted area
(37) despite the
availability of waste
management
infrastructure
0.14–0.41
Exported, inadequately
managed plastic waste
Plastic waste
collected for recycling
in the United States
that was exported to
countries where it
was inadequately
managed
0.15–0.99
Mismanaged wasteSum of above
categories
1.13–2.24