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Plastic can be found in virtually every shape and form. It is a material that makes our lives incredibly convenient, but most people rarely think about the impact plastic has on the world around us.
Unlike other materials, plastic never really goes away. We love plastic because it is durable, waterproof, and versatile, but the downside of these qualities is that it lasts forever.
Plastic does not biodegrade and it takes hundreds of years for it to break down through a process of photodegradation. Basically, plastic can only disintegrate if it is exposed to UV rays which break its structural bonds apart – and even when this happens, it never truly goes away, it just becomes tons of microscopic pieces of plastic.
Marine Animal Extinction is the Real Cost of Convenience
- Globally, we produce 300 million tons of plastic every year, 78 percent of which is NOT reclaimed or recycled.
- Around 8.8 million tons of plastic get dumped into the oceans every year!
- 700 marine animals are faced with extinction due to the threat that plastic poses to them in the form of entanglement, pollution, and ingestion.
- 50 percent of sea turtles have plastic in their stomachs.
- By 2050, 99 percent of all seabird species will have ingested plastic waste.
- 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.
- 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.
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. To learn more about how plastic pollution impacts marine animals, click here.
What Can YOU do?
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 baby steps to minimize hidden plastics in our lives, we can crush plastic at its source and help the world take a giant collective leap into a better future.
If we all take steps 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 ocean. The average American throws away approximately 185 pounds of plastic a year. If everyone in the U.S. alone were to stop using plastic that would keep over 555 billion pounds of plastic out of the oceans!
As the leading organization at the forefront of the conscious consumerism movement, One Green Planet believes that reducing hidden 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.
5 Ways You Can #CrushPlastic in Your Daily Life
Other Ways to #CrushPlastic
- DIY your own cosmetics instead of buying ones in plastic tubes.
- Try DIY-ing your shampoo and conditioner instead of buying plastic bottles.
- Skip the plastic tube toothpaste and make your own!
- Switch to bar soap and shampoo to avoid plastic packaging.
- Use mason jars when grocery shopping to store all your bulk food items.
- Use small cloth or reusable bags instead of produce bags when food shopping.
- Replace your plastic food storage bags with stainless steel tins or mason jars.
- Reduce plastic packaging in your cleaning routine by making your own natural cleaners.
- Avoid microbeads in your exfoliating face or body wash.
- Buy plastic-free beauty, hygiene, and cleaning products, like bamboo toothbrushes, plastic-free makeup brushes and natural material sponges.