FACT SHEET ON PLASTIC POLLUTION

FACT SHEET ON PLASTIC POLLUTION

Greenpeace UK image

BIG THANKS TO WAYNE YEE MON FOR COMPILING THIS INFORMATION

500 million plastic straws are thrown away every day in the US according to 5 Gyres, a global health non-profit. To understand it, that’s 46,400 school buses every year! It is an average of 1.6 straws per person per day. That’s 175 billion a year filtering into landfills and littering our waterways and oceans.

Each person will use approximately 38,000 or more plastic straws between the ages of 5 and 65.

If every person gave up plastic straws for one month, it would help keep nearly 50 straws out of the ocean.

US consumption of plastic straws can wrap around the earth’s circumference 2.5 times A DAY.

Per year, the world uses over 1 billion plastic straws and 5 trillion plastics are used.

Plastic litter from take outs orders is a prime source of the estimated 269,000 tons of plastic pollution that is swept into the water ways and oceans. Ocean bound plastic pollution is approximately 8 million tons per year.

Plastics are not bio-degradable, they just break into smaller and smaller pieces called micro-plastics.

Plastic leaches toxic chemicals (toxicants) like BPAs, PVCs, PCBs, PAHs, PBT, NP and PBDEs (flame retardants) causing cancer, cardiovascular damage, reproductive abnormalities, impaired brain and neurological functions, diabetes, obesity, genetic damage, impaired immunity, birth defects, miscarriage and other ailments.

Plastic poisons our food chain. Fishes and birds eat these micro-plastics and the toxic chemicals are absorbed in the fatty tissue and stomachs (94 percent of North Sea birds) which are carcinogens for both marine wildlife and humans. An estimated 1 million seabirds, 100,000 marine animals & sea turtles die by plastic pollution each year.

The Ellen Arthur Foundation and the World Wildlife Federation predicts that by 2050, there will be more pounds of plastic than fish by weight in the ocean.

Plastic debris outweighs zooplankton by a ratio of 36-to-1. In the Pacific Ocean Gyre, there is more plastic than plankton. It also displaces nutritive algae. Plastic waste makes up between 60 to 80% of the total marine debris.

Plastics particles form with other debris into large glutinous Accumulation Zones called Gyres comprising about 40% of the planet’s ocean. Researchers estimated 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic are in the ocean and growing.

Plastic pollution can be found in the Ocean Dead Zone in the Gulf of Mexico which is the size of Nevada, North Pacific Accumulation Zone (NPAC) between California and Hawaii which is twice the size of Texas & growing.

Americans discard more than 30 million tons of plastic a year. About 92 % ends up in landfills, oceans or as litter. Only 8 % is recycled. More than 100 million pieces of plastic utensils are used by Americans every day.

49.4 billion plastic water bottles were sold in one year’s time with only 31.1% recycled, leaving roughly 34 billion plastic bottles that were littered or went into a landfill in 2015.

RESOURCES:

Movies: A Plastic Ocean by Plastic Oceans Foundation and Straws by Linda Booker

Books: Plastic: a Toxic Love Story by Susan Freinkel and Zero Waste Home by Bea Johnson

Pollutants in plastics within the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre (Environmental Science & Technology 2018)

https://plasticpollutioncoalition.org https://ecocycle.org/bestrawfree/faqs

COPYRIGHT © 2016 By Sustainable Wellesley

Join us!

Join us and find out all about awesome local sustainability ideas and events!
Holler Box