Plastic is everywhere!
We have made more than 8.3 billion tonnes of plastic since the 1950s and most of this is floating in our oceans and piling up in our landfills.
Our plastic production is accelerating exponentially. We have produced more plastic in the last ten years than we did during the whole of the last century.
Some Australian stats that will blow your mind:
- We use 20 million new plastic bags every day, and only for around 15 minutes! Only around 3% of plastic bags are recycled in Australia, which means that an estimated 3.76 billion plastic bags are dumped in landfill every year, and around 50 million plastic bags end up in our litter stream and therefore our environment each year. Read more here.
- We use 1 billion plastic disposable coffee cups each year. These cups are lined with plastic and most cannot be recycled. All of these cups end up in either our landfills or our oceans.
- Plastic packaging accounts for 40% of plastic production worldwide, and most of this is not recycled.
- The beverage industry contributes to around a half of plastic pollution in the ocean (mainly bottles).
Plastic does not break down (it just breaks apart)
Plastic is made from petroleum, which is a non-renewable resource. It is designed to last forever, and yet we use it to make products that we only use once for a few minutes before throwing away.
Plastics don’t break down, they just break apart into smaller and smaller pieces.
In the ocean, plastic is a huge hazard to marine life through ingestion and entanglement. Read more here.
Some videos to watch for more information:
From ABC’s Catalyst – Plastic Oceans
Welcome to the age of the Plasti-sea: Richard Banati at TEDxSydney 2014
Plastic can also impact on our health
Plastics contain additives like BPA and phthalates. Many of these chemicals are endocrine disruptors, which means that they can mimic the body’s natural hormones when consumed.
The effects on health from exposure to endocrine disruptors can be lifelong, and can include infertility, cancers, obesity and diabetes.
Micro plastics containing these chemicals have recently been found in sea salt and 82% of tap and bottled water worldwide.