By most accounts, plastic recycling efforts have been a resounding failure. Prior research has shown that only 9% of plastic worldwide is recycled—in the U.S., it is only 5%. This is despite millions of people around the world dutifully separating out their plastic bottles; most of them wind up in landfills anyway. And now, it appears that the recycling process itself might be making things worse. In this new effort, the research team received permission to test a plastic recycling plant to see if it was emitting plastic pollution.