The world is addicted to plastic. It was once sold to consumers as the product of the future, a symbol of the modern times to come. But decades later the reality is that the earth is choking on it. 

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, only 9 percent of plastic is making its way into the recycling stream.

If people only knew the problem that they were creating when they extolled the virtues of throwaway living. This is a monster in the creating right here.

Steven Nutt, a professor of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science

"That's a people problem. They throw it on the street, or throw it in the ocean. Unfortunately it's a habit that has to be stopped," says Leon Farahnik, chairman of Carbonlite.

Americans consume water from 50 billion of plastic bottles ever year. And a lot of plastic bottles end up in landfills instead of recycling facilities.

It was a product developed for convenience, but now we are paying the price.

"If you look at the population as a whole, probably the majority have not realised the magnitude of the problem," says Dr Steven Nutt, a professor of chemical engineering and materials science at the University of Southern California.

But why is a material that's designed to be used over and over again not being recycled? What happens to all the plastic? What is the impact on communities? What can be done to tackle the growing problem with plastic? And what would modern life be like without plastic? 

From legislators to professors, to innovators in recycling, TechKnow investigates the journey of one single plastic bottle and the efforts to truly recycle the product creating zero waste. Contributors Dr Shini Somara and Dr Crystal Dilworth examine new innovations currently used to battle the trend of a single-serving society.

Source: Al Jazeera