The plastic bottle is one of the most pervasive single-use convenience items out there. In a sense, it is difficult to escape it and even those of us who generally try to steer clear of plastic, happen to buy one from time to time. Unfortunately, because of their immense popularity, plastic bottles are also at the forefront of the avalanche of plastic waste that is being produced every day all around the world – and recent reports show us figures which are a shock even to those aware of the plastic waste crisis.
A recent article in Forbes reports and cites two especially shocking plastic statistics: Globally, humans buy a million plastic bottles per minute; 91 percent of all plastic is not recycled. Together, those two facts make up a combination that should wake us right up from our indifference about the problem…
Recycling our plastic waste is critical – and the reason for that lies in the type of material that plastic really is. Plastic bottles are usually made out of polyethylene terephthalate (PET), which take 400 years to decompose naturally. In very simple terms, that literally means that once we throw away a plastic bottle, it will be around for the next 400 years. Unless, of course, we recycle it. Plastic, although non-biodegradable, is very easily recyclable.
The two places that a great majority of our used and un-recycled plastic bottles end up in are the ocean and the landfills. Once it gets there, plastic present in the waters is a serious danger to marine mammals, fish, sea birds, and other wildlife – via entanglement and ingestion, infamous cases of which we can witness ever so often in, for example, viral videos. To make matters worse, it is now estimated that by 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish!
The demand for plastic will not shrink on its own. It is estimated that in 2020, sold will be more than half a trillion plastic bottles. Facing a problem of such huge proportions, it is easy to feel discouraged but we must remember that we all have the power to make a difference. The current plastic situation is difficult to say the very least – and in order to make significant progress in the matter, we have to cooperate on a global scale.
By making simple swaps in our daily lives, we can keep plastic out of landfills and the oceans, and eventually, hopefully, lower demands for this product altogether. If you’re feeling inspired and want to learn how to take action today, check out One Green Planet’s #CrushPlastic campaign!
Image source: Hans/Pixabay