In the past 30 years alone, the amount of plastic that we produce and use has increased exponentially. On a global scale, plastic production has jumped over 620 percent which equates to over 300 million tons of plastic materials coming into circulation every year. Plastic has become so ubiquitous, in fact, that as consumers we rarely stop to think about the sheer amount of plastic we come into contact with every day – ranging from bottles, bags, utensils, packaging, and a whole myriad of other sources. There is no denying that plastic does make many aspects of our lives more convenient, after all, when we’re done using a plastic item, we can just throw it out. But therein lies the problem with our over-reliance on plastic.
300 million tons of plastic is produced every year, but 85 percent of the world’s plastic is not recycled. That means that 85 percent of the world’s plastic is sent to landfills – unfortunately, this is not always where plastic stays. In fact, the majority of plastics end up in the oceans.
A recent study found that as much as 80 percent of the trash that ends up in the oceans comes from land-based sources and nearly 90 percent of that is plastic. This totals out to 8.8 million tons of plastic that make their way from land to the oceans every single year. Given that plastic never really disappears, rather it photodegrades into smaller pieces over the course of hundreds of years, we’ve created a huge hazard for the world’s marine animals.
Currently, around 700 marine species are faced with extinction due to the threat plastic poses to them from entanglement, pollution, and ingestion. An international study from the University of Queensland discovered that 50 percent of sea turtles have plastic in their stomachs. Additionally, a recent study posited that by 2050, 99 percent of all seabird species will have ingested plastic waste. According to a study by the World Economic Forum, there will be one tonne of plastic for every three tonnes of fish by 2025, and if things go on business as usual, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish by 2050.
One Green Planet believes that our collective reliance on plastic is driving the destruction of our oceans, endangering marine and land animals, and harming human health. While we may appreciate plastic for its convenience, it is long past time for us to wake up and recognize the far-reaching impacts of this temporary luxury.
These stunning graphics below reveal how marine animals are paying the unfortunate cost of the everyday conveniences that plastic brings to our daily lives.
While efforts are being made to remove debris from the oceans, improve recycling systems, and innovate barriers to prevent plastic from getting into waterways, we can all take action in our daily lives to stop plastic waste at the source.
“Plastic is ubiquitous in modern society and seemingly unavoidable. But is it worth risking the lives of marine species, the health of the oceans and our own future in the name of convenience? By taking steps to minimize everyday plastics in our lives, we can crush plastic at the source and give marine life a fighting chance,” says Nil Zacharias, Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief of One Green Planet.
If we all make an effort to identify where we use plastic and actively look for alternatives, we can drastically cut down on the amount of plastic pollution that finds its way into the oceans.
As the leading organization at the forefront of the conscious consumerism movement, One Green Planet believes that reducing everyday plastics from our lives is not about giving up anything or sacrificing convenience, but rather learning to reap the maximum benefit from the items you use every day while having the minimum impact.
14 Ways You Can #CrushPlastic in Your Daily Life
- Carry a spare canvas bag for groceries or small items you might purchase throughout your day.
- Bring a reusable water bottle instead of buying a plastic one.
- Take a mug with you to work or class and ditch the plastic cups.
- Say no to plastic straws and utensils when eating out and bring your own stainless steel reusable ones.
- Use mason jars when grocery shopping to store all your bulk food items.
- Use cloth or reusable bags instead of produce bags when food shopping.
- Replace your plastic food storage bags with stainless steel tins or mason jars.
- DIY your own cosmetics instead of buying ones in plastic tubes.
- Reduce plastic packaging in your cleaning routine by making your own natural cleaners.
- Avoid microbeads in your exfoliating face or body wash.
- Try DIY-ing your shampoo and conditioner instead of buying plastic bottles.
- Switch to bar soap and shampoo to avoid plastic packaging.
- Skip the plastic tube toothpaste and make your own!
- Buy plastic-free beauty, hygiene, and cleaning products, like bamboo toothbrushes, plastic-free makeup brushes and natural material sponges.
For more information on how you can #CrushPlastic, click the image below: