It's everywhere! Plastic is a big part of our lives, but it's fast becoming a major environmental headache too. Here are some of the reasons why:
Eleven top plastic facts
1. 16,000 plastic bottles are made in the world EVERY SECOND!
2. 500 billion plastic bottles are made in the world EVERY YEAR!
3. 20% of these are Coca-Cola bottles!
4. 60,000 plastic bags are used globally every 3 seconds!
5. By 2050, the plastic floating in our oceans will weigh more than the fish!
6. Since the 1950s, 8.3 billion tonnes of plastic have been made, with most ending up in landfill.
7. 8.3 billion tonnes of plastic could cover the entire area of Argentina to a depth of 25cm!
8. 8.3 billion tonnes weighs more than 1 billion fully grown African elephants!
9. In 2015, only 9% of plastic waste was recycled. 12% was incinerated (burnt) and 79% ended up in landfill!
10. Half of all objects made from plastic become waste within four years or less.
11. it's predicted that by 2050, we'll have made 34 billion tonnes of plastic.
Here's some of the good news and the bad news...
Good news: Plastic bottles can be recycled into new ones.
Bad news: New plastic bottles only contain about 7% recycled plastic. More bad news: Less than10% of all plastic waste is actually recycled.
Good news: Plastic bottles are stronger, lighter and cheaper than glass ones.
Bad news: A plastic bottle, once in the environment, will take at least 450 years, and often much longer, to break down in the environment.
Good news: Plastics break down more rapidly in the oceans.
Bad news: Lots of tiny fragments of plastic float in the oceans and are eaten by fish.
Even worse news: Toxic chemicals floating in the oceans are attracted to plastic and often 'stick' to it, so when fish eat little bits of plastic, they eat the toxic chemicals too.
Seriously bad news: Those toxic chemicals can then be passed on to humans when we eat the fish.
Photo by Tom Page