According to the World Counts:
“Plastic is one of the most widely used and cheapest materials in the world today. You can find it anywhere. If it’s not made from plastic, it’s wrapped in plastic.
Plastic is Forever. They are not bio-degradable. Can you imagine that since plastic was invented, everything that has ever been made from this material still exists? In around 700 years they will start breaking up. They will not decompose or biodegrade and get absorbed by nature. They will “photo-degrade” – which means they will turn into little toxic bits of themselves while bleeding and contaminating the environment.. They are here to stay.
Some of the plastic waste facts might surprise you:
- 160,000 plastic bags are used globally every second!
- 5 trillion plastic bags are produced yearly. Side by side, they can encircle the world 7 times.
- An average family will use 60 plastic bags on four visits to the supermarket.
- Only 1 to 3% of plastic bags are recycled worldwide.
- Plastic bags cause the death of many marine animals when they are mistaken for food.
- Plastic bags are produced using petroleum, natural gas and other chemicals. Its production is toxic to the environment.
In the Ocean
- 10% of the plastic we use yearly end up in the ocean. That’s equivalent to 700 billion plastic bottles!
- In the North Pacific Ocean, there are 6x more plastic debris than plankton. They are causing deaths to our marine animals who mistake them for food.
- In 2008, a sperm whale was found beached in California. It died due to the more than 22 kilos of plastic found in its stomach.
- We have an island in the middle of the North Pacific Gyre, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch – which is mostly composed of plastic. It’s the size of India, Europe and Mexico combined.
- 90% of the trash floating in our oceans is made of plastic, around 46,000 pieces per square mile.
- Plastic is made from petroleum.
- Recycling one ton of plastic saves the equivalent of 1,000 to 2,000 gallons of gasoline. One ton of plastic is around 25,000 plastic bottles.
- The production of plastic uses around 8% of the world’s oil production.”
- Plastics have a variety of toxins such as:
- Direct toxicity, as in the cases of lead, cadmium, and mercury
- Carcinogens, as in the case of diethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP)
- Endocrine disruption, which can lead to cancers, birth defects, immune system suppression and developmental problems in children.
- Hormone disrupting chemicals such as bisphenol A
- Learn about all the types of plastics here
For more info on plastics:
- Bees Wax Wrap (Plastic Wrap Alternative)
- Giving Brush
- Green America’s Green Pages: Reusable Products
- Lunch Skins (Reusable, Plastic Free Lunch Bags)
- Menstrual Cups and Tampon Alternatives
- Single Use Coffee Pods Alternatives
Campaigns To Help
Check out these easy ways you can start reducing your waste in your every day life!
- Stop using plastic straws, even in restaurants. If a straw is a must, purchase a reusable stainless steel or glass straw
- Use a reusable produce bag. A single plastic bag can take 1,000 years to degrade. Purchase or make your own reusable produce bag and be sure to wash them often!
- Give up gum. Gum is made of a synthetic rubber, aka plastic.
- Buy boxes instead of bottles. Often, products like laundry detergent come in cardboard which is more easily recycled than plastic.
- Purchase food, like cereal, pasta, and rice from bulk bins and fill a reusable bag or container. You save money and unnecessary packaging.
- Reuse containers for storing leftovers or shopping in bulk.
- Use a reusable bottle or mug for your beverages, even when ordering from a to-go shop
- Bring your own container for take-out or your restaurant doggy-bag since many restaurants use styrofoam.
- Use matches instead of disposable plastic lighters or invest in a refillable metal lighter.
- Avoid buying frozen foods because their packaging is mostly plastic. Even those that appear to be cardboard are coated in a thin layer of plastic. Plus you’ll be eating fewer processed foods!
- Don’t use plasticware at home and be sure to request restaurants do not pack them in your take-out box.
- Ask your local grocer to take your plastic containers (for berries, tomatoes, etc.) back. If you shop at a farmers market they can refill it for you.
- The EPA estimates that 7.6 billion pounds of disposable diapers are discarded in the US each year. Use cloth diapers to reduce your baby’s carbon footprint and save money.
- Make fresh squeezed juice or eat fruit instead of buying juice in plastic bottles. It’s healthier and better for the environment.
- Make your own cleaning products that will be less toxic and eliminate the need for multiple plastic bottles of cleaner.
- Pack your lunch in reusable containers and bags. Also, opt for fresh fruits and veggies and bulk items instead of products that come in single serving cups.
- Use a razor with replaceable blades instead of a disposable razor