Plastic pollution continues to make headlines across the UK, and it’s no wonder when you look at these shocking facts about plastic.
While plastic is a useful material for our modern lives, it has become one of the biggest culprits in environmental damage
Every piece of plastic ever made still exists today. If that doesn’t shock you into going plastic-free, these other shocking facts about plastic might.
According to research by National Geographic, 73% of all beach litter around the world is plastic. This includes plastic bottles, bottle caps, food wrappers, grocery bags, and polystyrene food containers.
In a report by The Guardian, one million plastic bottles are bought around the world every minute. This number is set to rise by another 20% by the year 2021.
A study by Plymouth University found that plastic pollution affects at least 700 marine species. Some estimate that at 100 million marine mammals are killed each year from eating or becoming entangled in plastic.
Plastic packaging accounts for 40% of the plastic we use, yet this is only used once. Single-use plastic is set to be banned by the UK government by 2021.
The production of plastic began in the 1950s. Now, scientists have revealed that humans have created 8.3 billion metric tonnes of plastic since production began. Astonishingly, only 9% of this has been recycled. 12% has been incinerated and 79% has accumulated in landfills or the natural environment.
Kenya has the world’s toughest law against plastic bags. If a Kenyan is caught producing, selling or even using plastic bags, they risk imprisonment.
Other countries that have banned or taxed single-use plastic bags include China, France, and Italy.
In the UK, British households throw away 22 million tonnes of waste in the bin. According to figures by the National Office of Statistics, 11% of this is plastic. There is an EU target for the UK to recycle at least 50% of household waste by 2020.
It’s been found that the average ‘working-life’ of a plastic bag is only 15 minutes. However, plastic bags take hundreds of years to decompose.