Recycling Labyrinth, exibition by artist Mona Sfeir constructed from thousands of collected plastic bottles at U.N. Geneva. U.N. Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré

Fact File: Five takeaways on plastic

Toward pollution free future

BONN, Germany (Landscape News) — Earth Day organizers are encouraging consumers to scrutinize their plastic use habits to cut down on pollution. Here are five facts about plastic:

  • 3 billion metric tons of virgin (non-recycled) plastic have been created to date. Half of that was in the last 13 years. Most of it (6.3 billion metric tons) is no longer in use. Of that, around 12 percent has been incinerated, 9 percent has been recycled, and the rest is either in landfill or scattered around the natural environment, including in oceans.
  • Every minute, the equivalent of one garbage truck full of plastic is dumped in the ocean. Around 8 million metric tonnes of plastic go this way every year. By 2050, there will be more plastic (by weight) than fish in the sea if we keep polluting at current rates.
  • More than 20 times more plastic is used now than in 1964, and the main cause of this increase is the rise in plastic packaging.
  • Currently only 14 percent of plastic packaging around the world is collected for recycling, and only 2 percent is re-used. This represents a loss of $80-120 billion of value per year.
  • Every year, we use 17 million barrels of oil just to make plastic water bottles – enough to fuel a million cars. Climate change and plastic pollution are connected crises – to divest from fossil fuels, we will have to ditch the plastic habit.

Sources:

The Plastic Pollution Coalition

The United Nations Environment Program

The World Economics Forum

Earth Day Network

RELATED

Earth Day: How “going naked” with Lush cosmetics can help reduce plastic footprint

Entrepreneurs in African countries make plastic pollution their business

Earth Day: How to reduce your personal plastic footprint

 

Protecting mangroves from plastic pollution in Haiti

Article tags

earth dayenvironmentlandscapeplasticpollution

BE PART OF THE MOVEMENT

Finally…

…thank you for reading this story. Our mission is to make them freely accessible to everyone, no matter where they are. 

We believe that lasting and impactful change starts with changing the way people think. That’s why we amplify the diverse voices the world needs to hear – from local restoration leaders to Indigenous communities and women who lead the way.

By supporting us, not only are you supporting the world’s largest knowledge-led platform devoted to sustainable and inclusive landscapes, but you’re also becoming a vital part of a global movement that’s working tirelessly to create a healthier world for us all.

Every donation counts – no matter the amount. Thank you for being a part of our mission.

Sidebar Publication

Related articles

Related articles