Green Cities

Fact Sheet: How Much Disposable Plastic We Use


Fact Sheet: How Much Disposable Plastic We Use

The billions upon billions of items of plastic waste choking our oceans, lakes, and rivers and piling up on land are more than unsightly and harmful to plants and wildlife.

The following 8 facts shed light on how plastic is proving dangerous to our planet, health, and wildlife. To learn more about the threat and impact of plastic pollution and get tips to reduce your plastic consumption, download our Plastic Pollution Primer and Toolkit  and use our Plastic Pollution Calculator today!

  1. An estimated 583 billion plastic bottles were produced in 2021. That is 100 billion more than were produced just five years ago.[1]
  2. This year, five trillion plastic bags will be used. That’s 160,000 every second![2]
  3. Americans alone use half a billion drinking straws every day.[3]
  4. In 2017, packaging production constituted the highest-demanded use for plastic, with 146 million metric tons used.[4]
  5. The amount of single-use plastics used globally has tripled since the start of the pandemic, with takeout orders driving the increase.[5]
  6. Each year, enough Bubble Wrap is created globally to cover the distance between the earth and the moon.[6]
  7. In the U.S., we throw away more than 50 billion coffee cups every year. These are coated with plastic to laminate the inside and use plastic lids.[7]
  8. Around the world, people litter more than 4.5 trillion cigarette butts every year.[8]