Single-use plastics (SUPs), invented for the modern “throwaway society,” are intended to be used only once. They are being increasingly produced and used globally, most notably as packaging or consumables, such as SUP shopping bags or disposable tableware. We discuss how most SUPs are landfilled or incinerated, which causes pollution, consumes valuable land, and squanders limited natural resources. Only relatively small amounts are currently recycled, a hindrance to the concept of a circular economy. Moreover, SUP litter aggregation in the natural environment is a major concern. This article briefly reviews SUP contamination in various environmental media including soil, rivers, lakes and oceans around the world. In the face of mounting evidence regarding the threat posed to plant growth, soil invertebrates and other land animals, (sea) birds, and marine ecosystems, there is a growing push to minimize SUPs. Regulatory tools and voluntary actions to reduce SUP usage have been put forward, with some suggestions for minimizing SUP waste.