Plastic bags used per year

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Number of plastic bags produced

Worldwide, this year

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3,633,323,891,324

Number of plastic bags produced

Worldwide, this year

By TheWorldCounts

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We use 5 trillion plastic bags...
per year! That’s 160,000 a second! And over 700 a year for every single person on the planet. We can do better than that. See plastic bags used per year in real time below.

Top 5 facts about plastic bags

1

160,000 plastic bags a second

This year 5 trillion plastic bags will be consumed. That’s 160,000 a second! Put one after another they would go around the world 7 times every hour and cover an area twice the size of France.


2

Most bags are simply thrown out

Less than 1 percent are recycled. They are most often made from Polyethylene that takes centuries to degrade. Each ton of recycled plastic bags saves the energy equivalent of 11 barrels of oil.


3

What happens to the plastic bags?

In total, we use 100 million tons of plastic every year. Some 10 percent of this plastic end up in the oceans - and not without consequences…


4

The plastic soup

In the ocean, the plastic is broken down to tiny pieces. These pieces are eaten by fish and cannot be digested. Consequently the plastic builds up and enter into the food chain.


5

Hundreds of species are affected

Seabirds, turtles, seals, sea lions, whales and fish eat the plastics. The death of one sperm whale found in California (USA) in 2008 was caused by 22.2 kilos of plastic that the whale had eaten. Check out the video on plastic bags and their way to the 'Pacific garbage patch'.



Plastic bags

The Worldwatch Institute estimates that 4-5 trillion plastic bags were produced in 2002. We guess the number hasn’t gone down since then and use the upper estimate of 5 trillion.


160,000 plastic bags a second

Most bags are simply thrown out

What happens to the plastic bags?

The plastic soup

Hundreds of species are affected

Watch a video

The Majestic Plastic Bag - A Mockumentary

Narrated by Academy Award-winner Jeremy Irons, this "mockumentary" video, hammers home the stark reality of the plastic bag pollution situation.

Suggest another video! Email us

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