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 10 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!

#1More than 480 billion plastic bottles were sold worldwide in 2016. That is up from about 300 billion only a decade ago.
#2About one trillion single-use plastic bags are used annually across the globe. That’s nearly 2 million every minute.
#3More than half a billion plastic straws are used every day around the world.
#4Over half of the world’s plastic thrown out in 2015 was plastic packaging. That’s over 141 million metric tons.
#5Takeout orders account for around 269,000 US tons of plastic waste that has entered the oceans.  
#6The amount of bubble wrap that is produced annually is enough to wrap around the Equator ten times.
#7The world uses 500 billion plastic cups every year.
#816 billion disposable coffee cups are used each year. These are coated with plastic to laminate the inside and use plastic lids.
#9The world produces more than 14 million US tons of polystyrene (plastic foam) each year. Americans alone throw away around 25 billion Styrofoam cups every year.
#10Around the world, people litter more than 4.5 trillion cigarette butts every year.