Fact Sheet: End Plastic Pollution

EARTH DAY 2018 | END PLASTIC POLLUTION

10 Shocking Facts About Plastic Pollution

Plastic pollution is killing our planet! It’s choking our oceans, poisoning our food and water supply, and wreaking havoc on the health and well-being of humans and wildlife worldwide

Use these ten shocking facts about the scope of plastic pollution to educate, inspire and mobilize your friends, family, coworkers and community to join the movement to END PLASTIC POLLUTION this Earth Day. 

FACT #1 8.3 BILLION Metric Tons (9.1 BILLION US Tons) of plastic has been produced since plastic was introduced in the 1950s.[1] The amount of plastic produced in a year is roughly the same as the entire weight of humanity. [2]
FACT #2 Virtually every piece of plastic that was ever made still exists in some shape or form (with the exception of the small amount that has been incinerated).[3]
FACT #3 91% of plastic waste isn’t recycled. And since most plastics don’t biodegrade in any meaningful sense, all that plastic waste could exist for hundreds or even thousands of years.[4]
FACT #4 500 MILLION plastic straws are used EVERY DAY in America. That’s enough to circle the Earth twice.[5]
FACT #5 Nearly TWO MILLION single-use plastic bags are distributed worldwide every minute.[6]
FACT #6 100 BILLION plastic bags are used by Americans every year. Tied together, they would reach around the Earth’s equator 773 times![6]
FACT #7 ONE MILLION plastic bottles are bought EVERY MINUTE around the world — and that number will top half a TRILLION by 2021. Less than half of those bottles end up getting recycled.[7]
FACT #8 8 MILLION METRIC TONS of plastic winds up in our oceans each year. That’s enough trash to cover every foot of coastline around the world with five full trash bags of plastic…compounding every year. [8]
FACT #9 There is more microplastic in the ocean than there are stars in the Milky Way.[9]
FACT #10 If plastic production isn’t curbed, plastic pollution will outweigh fish pound for pound by 2050.[10]

[1] Science Advances, http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/3/7/e1700782

[2] The Guardian, https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jun/28/a-million-a-minute-worlds-plastic-bottle-binge-as-dangerous-as-climate-change

[3] Science Advances, http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/3/7/e1700782

[4] National Geographic, https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/07/plastic-produced-recycling-waste-ocean-trash-debris-environment

[5] National Park Service, https://www.nps.gov/commercialservices/greenline_straw_free.htm

[6] Earth Policy Institute, http://www.earth-policy.org/press_room/C68/plastic_bags_fact_sheet

[7]  The Guardian https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jun/28/a-million-a-minute-worlds-plastic-bottle-binge-as-dangerous-as-climate-change

[8] Science Advances, http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/3/7/e1700782

[9] United Nations, https://news.un.org/en/story/2017/02/552052-turn-tide-plastic-urges-un-microplastics-seas-now-outnumber-stars-our-galaxy#.WLA81BLyvBJ

[10] World Economic Forum Report, http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_The_New_Plastics_Economy.pdf