In my personal low waste journey, I started with documentaries to learn more about the impacts of single use plastics. These documentaries were eye opening to me - mainly because I considered myself a pretty educated, experienced person and the fact that I'd never been exposed to any information about environmental matters throughout my entire schooling (other than 'Reduce, Reuse, Recycle' in the '90s) was pretty shocking to me.
Until then, I was absolutely the person who used every single easy convenience offered to me, without giving any further consideration. Straws, plastic spoons, forks and cups....endless plastic bags at the grocery store...make-up wipes....diapers....bottles upon bottles of shampoo, conditioners, cleaning supplies, detergent.....and the list goes on....
But what really motivated me to get started on a path towards lower waste was when I started seeing real statistics. About how little plastic is actually recycled, how long it takes for single use plastics to decompose and just how much plastic is actually consumed by humans on a daily basis.
So, here are a few stats for you. Some you may already know, but hopefully some are new to you too. And maybe, just maybe, help you to consider an alternative option the next time you are offered a single use plastic :)
- Humans buy about 1,000,000 plastic bottles per minute. Only about 23% of plastic bottles are recycled within the U.S.
- By using a reusable water bottle, you could save an average of 156 plastic bottles annually.
- It is estimated that 4 trillion plastic bags are used worldwide annually. Only 1% of plastic bags are returned for recycling.
- Americans throw away 100 billion plastic bags annually. That’s about 307 bags per person!
- Half a million straws are used in the world every day.
- Americans alone throw away 25 billion styrofoam coffee cups every year. Styrofoam cannot be completely recycled. Most of the Styrofoam disposed of today will still be present in landfills 500 years from now.
- A full 32% of the 78 million tons of plastic packaging produced annually is left to flow into our oceans; the equivalent of pouring one garbage truck of plastic into the ocean every minute.
- 100,000 marine animals are killed by plastic bags annually.
- Normally, plastic items can take up to 1000 years to decompose in landfills. Plastic bags we use in our everyday life take 10-1000 years to decompose, while plastic bottles can take 450 years or more.
- If current trends continue, our oceans could contain more plastic than fish by 2050.
Stats Credit to: