Plastic Waste Facts

What happens to the Plastic you throw away?

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Tons of plastic waste dumped in oceans

Globally, this year

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TheWorldCounts, 17 June, 2014

What happens to the Plastic you throw away?

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. We use around 5 trillion plastic bags a year worldwide! The US alone throws away enough plastic bottles in a week to encircle the world 5 times. Only 1 to 3% of all plastics used are recycled. After we use them, we throw them away. 

More: Interesting Facts about Plastic Bags

Have you ever wondered where they end up?

They are here to stay…

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. They are here to stay.

More: Garbage Islands In The Ocean

Some of the plastic waste facts might surprise you:

  • In the North Pacific Ocean, there are 6x more plastic debris than plankton. They are causing deaths to ur marine animals who mistake them for food.
  • 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.
  • 10% of the plastic we use yearly end up in the ocean. That’s equivalent to 700 billion plastic bottles!
  • 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.
  • 90% of the trash floating in our oceans is made of plastic, around 46,000 pieces per square mile.
  • Plastic is made from petroleum.
  • Some of the components used to make plastic like phthalates and bisphenol A are harmful to our health.

More: Pollution from Plastic

These are just some of the things you probably didn’t know about the plastic you use everyday. 

Read more about the harmful effects of plastic waste to our environment and to our health at The World Counts: Stories

We can still do something. We just need to have all the facts and do what needs to be done.

References

  1. EcoWatch: 22 facts about plastic pollution
  2. State of the Planet: What happens to all that plastic?

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