Quiz Yourself

Plastic Pollution Quiz

Plastic Pollution Quiz

How much do you know about the threats that our planet faces from plastic pollution?

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What happens to plastic waste when left in the environment?

Correct! Wrong!

The correct answer is it breaks into little pieces.

Plastics at SEA (Sea Education Association): North Pacific Expedition 2012, a 36-day nautical research journey through the the North Pacific subtropical gyre down to the Hawaiian islands, found this to be true. The team was studying plastic pollution in the ocean and found that out of the 66,077 pieces of plastic collected in samples, 95% of it was millimeters in size. For more on their incredible journey, check out the crew’s journal log.

Why is plastic dangerous for marine life?

Correct! Wrong!

Plastic tends to float and bobbing on the surface can lead them to be mistaken for other marine life. Plastic bags are often mistaken for jellyfish by leatherback turtles and consumed. Marine life can also get tangled in nets, cords, and other plastic debris, which hinders their ability to swim and in some cases, can be a severe choking hazard.

How many million tons of plastic are dumped in our oceans every year?

Correct! Wrong!

According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, at least 8 million tons of plastic is dumped into our oceans each year. That’s the equivalent of dumping one garbage truck full of plastic into the ocean every minute. If nothing is done, this will increase to two garbage trucks a minute by 2030 and four per minute by 2050!

True or False: There are many alternatives to single use plastic products.

Correct! Wrong!

There are many alternatives to single use plastic products or even just plastic products. From reusable bags to stainless steel travel mugs, giving up plastic can be as simple as a single choice. For more information on alternatives to plastic, check out Beth Terry’s blog, 100 Steps to a Plastic-Free Life.

How many marine species are harmed by plastic pollution?

Correct! Wrong!

A 2015 Plymouth University study compiled reports recorded from around the world and found evidence of 44,000 animals becoming entangled or swallowing plastic debris, accounting for a total of 693 marine species. At least 17% of those affected species are listed as threatened or near threatened.

What percent of its plastic does the U.S. recycle?

Correct! Wrong!

As of 2019, about 8.3 billion metric tons of plastic has been produced in the U.S. and, of that, less than 9% has been recycled. The scary thing is if current production and management trends continue in the U.S., 12 billion of plastic waste will end up in landfills or the ocean by 2050.

Approximately, Americans use about how many plastic drinking straws per day?

Correct! Wrong!

On average, Americans use 1.6 plastic drinking straws every day, totaling to 500 million per day. That’s enough to fill up 125 school buses a day, or 45,625 school buses a year! Drinking straws may not seem like a lot of plastic but they add up quickly. Instead of getting plastic straws at restaurants or cafes, you can bring your own reusable straw or simply go straw free.

What percentage of U.S. crude oil consumption does plastic production account for?

Correct! Wrong!

About 5% of total used petroleum in the U.S. goes toward plastic production. This may not seem like a lot but for the world’s largest consumer of petroleum, that’s equivalent to 330 million barrels of oil a year and therefore contributes to climate change as well!

On average, how long is a plastic bag used by a person before being thrown away?

Correct! Wrong!

According to the 5 Gyres Institute, 12 minutes is the average “working life” of a plastic bag before it is thrown away. Globally, one million plastic bags are used per minute and only 1% of them are recycled. Most of them make their way to the ocean where they can take up to 20 years to decompose.

By what year do scientists predict plastic will outweigh fish in the ocean, pound for pound?

Correct! Wrong!

A report done by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation found that there are over 150 million tons of plastic in the oceans today. That is about 1 ton of plastic for every 3 tons of fish. Keeping up a business-as-usual trend will have plastic outweighing fish in the ocean by 2050.

Plastic Pollution Quiz
Plastic Novice

You are a plastic novice! You seem interested in learning more about how to reduce plastic waste and protect our marine wildlife. You probably love the ocean and want to help make a difference in protecting it. Keep working hard and soon you will become a plastic professional!
Plastic Proficient

Good job! You are plastic proficient! Understanding how plastic can affect our environment and the oceans is important. You seem to know about how we can keep our earth clean. With some more learning, you are on your way to being a plastic professional!
Plastic Professional

Wow! You are a plastic professional! You know your stuff about the ocean and the best ways to keep them clean of plastic! You probably are big on composting and understand everything about recycling. Keep up the good work!

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