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Plastic & Green Facts!

  • A million plastic bottles are bought around the world every minute and the number will jump another 20% by 2021.  More than a trillion will be sold annually by the end of the decade.  Source – Guardian (2017)
  • The average household in the UK creates over a tonne of waste each year (about the weight of a small car).  Every year, the waste we produce increases by about 3%, which sounds insignificant, but it means that in 25 years, the amount of waste we produce will have doubled.  The average person in the UK throws away their own body weight in rubbish every 7 weeks!  Every year, 18 million tonnes of waste is sent to a UK landfill site.  Plastic can take up to 500 years to fully decompose.  The vast majority of plastic shopping bags are only used once and take up to 100 years to decompose.  If every person in the UK recycled just 10% more paper it would save approximately 5 million trees each year.  The UK uses a woodland the size of Wales every year in paper usage.  Every Christmas, we throw away enough wrapping paper to cover over 11,000 football pitches.  The average family in the UK throws away 6 trees worth of paper every year.  Source – Recycling Bins
  • We’ve produced 8.3 billion metric tons of plastics since the 1950s, that’s enough to cover every inch of the UK ankle-deep more than 10 times over.  Of that staggering total, 79% has ended up in landfills or the natural environment, including our oceans.  Just 9% was recycled.  Plastic is so prevalent in our magnificent oceans that 1 in 3 turtles have now eaten plastic.  About half of all plastics produced between 1950-2015 were made since 2002. If this kind of trajectory continues, 12 billion tons of plastic waste will be in landfills or the natural environment by 2050. That’s the weight of over 66 million blue whales!  Single-use plastic packaging is a huge part of the problem, making up 42% of all plastics produced since the 1950s.  Source – Greenpeace.
  • UK supermarkets currently generate 800,000 tonnes of plastic packaging every year.  Source – Greenpeace petitio
  • Turtles eat plastic bags mistaking them for jellyfish.  Seabirds are found with their stomachs full of plastic items.  Microplastics are consumed by animals like plankton, passing the problem back up the food chain – to us.  Plastic is found in the deepest reach of the ocean, and even in remote Arctic sea ice.  You might think your contribution is small, but together our collective action is powerful.  Source - WWF
  • Food recycling facts – the average person throws away 74kg of food waste each year.  UK households throw away an estimated £470 of food which is edible every year. 
    Source – Recycling Bins

Facts from Drowning In Plastic Event hosted by Liz Bonnin

  • Plastic is everywhere in our oceans, it has reached every corner of our Blue Planet
  • Highest number of pieces of plastic found by scientists in 3 month old flesh-footed shearwater chicks – 280 pieces (equates to a human being having 10kg of plastic in their stomach)
  • Microplastics – are a millimetre or smaller in size.  One of the highest concentrations of microplastics is in the Arctic!
  • A garbage truckload of plastic enters the sea every minute (approximately 8 million tonnes every year)
  • In the UK 9% of our plastic is “downcycled” to make lower-grade plastic items.  The rest is sent to landfill, incinerated or exported to places like Indonesia (a country with an 81% waste mis-management rate), Vietnam & Malaysia.
  • Some predictions are that by 2025 there will be twice the amount of plastic in the ocean than there is today
  • Over 300 million tonnes of plastic are produced each year and that’s set to increase to over 500 million tonnes by 2050! 
  • 99% of the raw materials for plastic come from the fossil fuel industry so the same industry that is contributing to the climate breakdown crisis is contributing to the ocean plastic crisis
  • Of all the plastic that’s made 40% of it is packaging that we use once and throw it away

Evidence of microplastics – in a study of 500 fish from the English channel and microplastics were found in 1/3 of them.


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