Plastic is everywhere
We have a global plastic addiction and the numbers are staggering. For example, 1 million plastic bottles are purchased every minute worldwide.
Like these bottles, about half the plastics we consume are meant to be used just once .
As we talked about last month, there are positive developments in recycling plastic waste into all kinds of different products, including clothing and shoes.
But recycling doesn’t even come close to solving our plastic problem. Less than 10% of plastic we use actually gets recycled. The rest ends up in landfills, or worse, in our environment: rivers, lakes and oceans. According to the UN, an estimated 8 million tons of plastic waste goes into the world’s oceans each year – the equivalent of a dump truck emptying into the ocean each minute.
What’s more, much of this waste breaks down in the environment, creating “microplastics” (tiny bits of plastic less than 5 mm in size). Scientists are finding these tiny pieces—sometimes microscopic—are getting into, well, absolutely everything—water, marine life, even the air. That’s right, we’re likely eating, drinking, and even breathing tiny plastic particles.
Of course, the implications for both environmental and human health are devastating. Marine life is especially impacted, often mistaking plastic objects in the ocean for food.
So what can we do?
As consumers, there’s a lot we can do to reduce our single-use plastic consumption. Check out the infographic from UN Environment's #CleanSeas campaign at the top of this post.
Every bit counts
Plastic pollution is one of the biggest environmental challenges facing the planet. Addressing it is going to require concerted efforts by corporations and governments worldwide to implement new approaches to dramatically reduce reliance on single-use plastic and improve management and recycling. But, by making even small changes in our daily lives, we can all make a difference.