Why is plastic marine debris so common? A recent study from the University of Georgia estimates that 8 million metric tons of plastic trash enters the ocean every year. The 5 most common items found during the International Coastal Cleanup are plastic cigarette butts, food wrappers, plastic beverage bottles, plastic bottle caps, and plastic straws. Notice anything in common with those things? It's a lot of single-use, disposable plastic. Part of the "Trash Talk" series.