How often do you stop to think about how much trash you’ve generated in one day? Chances are, that number hovers somewhere around a whopping zero times. And really why would we? Once we unwrap our morning granola bar or finish that giant latte, we throw out the packaging and get on with our busy days. We live in a society where most things are disposable and a proper waste receptacle to dispose of these disposable items is never more than a few feet away.

Well, sadly, there is a huge unintended consequence that comes with not thinking about all our trash. This video depicts the formation of trash islands (for lack of better term) in the world’s oceans. Although the visualization, created by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, is mesmerizing, it illustrates an incredibly sad story. Over the course of the past 35 years alone, the amount of trash in our oceans has gone from a dot here and there to five full blown floating garbage patches. Where is all this trash coming from? Well, according to experts, 80 percent comes from land (i.e. our landfills and litter) and of that trash, around 90 percent is plastic.

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While this might come as a surprise, when you consider the fact that plastic production has increased by 620 percent in the past 30 years to reach a total of 300 million tons, annually … can we really be all that shocked? But perhaps, what is more alarming than the creation of these floating trash towns is the impact that they have on the world’s marine life. It is estimated that around 700 marine species are directly in danger of extinction due to plastic pollution. That’s no joking matter.

The good new is, we can all help stop the expansion of oceanic garbage patches and save marine species by reassessing the amount of plastic and trash we produce every day. Check out this article to help you identify where you’re creating trash and then read this incredible story to help you live a little more waste-free.

We all have the choice to create tons of plastic waste or not, even making one slight change in your daily routine can make a difference!

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