It's hard to believe now, but I think my science teacher in high school and me and another guy, started one of the first serious recycling centers in 1970. We only had to deal with aluminum, bimetal, and glass because that was the lion's share of it then — aside from paper, which companies were recycling in the day. I don't remember any plastic bottles or that plastics were much of a thing.
Anyway, aluminum threatened us because it takes forever to degrade in the environment, but the only real threat from glass was cutting your feet on the beach, which was common. But it was liquid quartz, so at least it didn't pollute the earth chemically.
And now I can't buy a camera accessory or pair of dark glasses without them coming in some plastic or nylon case I don't need and just goes into landfill or rivers and oceans, and slowly degrades into the soil and groundwater. That's why I haven't bought anything in a plastic bottle for years. I go to the farmer's market or produce sections in stores that don't encase the produce in plastic like Costco does. When Costco went from cardboard flats to plastic clamshells, I cried. But 99% of the world shrugs and thinks I'm a hippie/environmentalist extremist nutcase.