“If the current trend continues, there could be more plastic than fish by weight in the oceans by 2050” writes MacArthur in her Editorial, “Beyond plastic waste” (10.1126/science.aao6749). In three Perspective articles, challenges and opportunities to reduce plastic waste and improve its production are discussed. Hillmyer describes progress in developing plant-based plastics in “The promise of plastic from plants” (10.1126/science.aao6711). In “Designed to degrade,” Albertsson and Hakkarainen discuss the difficulties in designing degradable plastics including the fact that many plastics that degrade readily in compost (like shopping bags) do not break down in marine environments, contributing to the enormous environmental problem we are now facing (10.1126/science.aap8115). Finally, in “The future of plastics recycling,” Garcia and Robertson address why more than 90% of plastic waste in the US is not recycled, and explore new opportunities for improving plastic recycling 10.1126/science.aaq0324. (Summary by Mary Williams) Science.