By BAIIA SUSTAINABLE APPAREL
Plastic facts you probably didn’t want to know about, but should.
- Americans throw away 35 billion plastic water bottles every year
- Americans use 500 million plastic straws a DAY
- 17 million barrels of oil is used annually to make plastic in the US alone.
- More than one million plastic bags are used EVERY minute
- Aussies throw away one BILLION coffee cups annually
- Australians dump 4,000 plastic bags into our landfill per hour
- 145.7 million litres of oil was used in the production, transportation, refrigeration and recycling/disposing of bottled water in Australia in 2009-10.
- 8 Billion tonnes of plastic are dumped into our oceans every single year. That’s the equivalent of 16 bags of plastic for every meter of coastline in the world!
ANIMALS + HUMANS
- One million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals are killed annually from plastic in our oceans (this only includes the animals that are found)
- Plastic chemicals can be absorbed by the body— BPA (a plastic chemical) can been found in 93% of Americans age six or older.
- A number of compounds within plastic have been found to have potential health effects on humans and animals, as well as altering hormones and seriously affect the reproductive system.
- At least two thirds of the world’s fish stocks are suffering from plastic ingestion.
- It is estimated that between 5,000 and 15,000 sea turtles are entangled each year by derelict fishing gear washing ashore in northern Australia alone.
OCEAN + LAND
- It can take anything between 20-1000 years for a plastic bag to break up. I mean break up as they break up into smaller pieces. They don’t break down and those that do, break down into polymers and toxic chemicals to then leach into our oceans .
- Certain plastics (like styrofoam) are decomposing faster than others and while doing so, release potentially toxic substances (like carcinogens and BPA to name a few) into the water - adding to the fast growing problem of ocean chemical pollution and acidification.
- Every 11 years the amount of plastic produced doubles. To put that in other words, between now and 2028 we will produce as much plastic as we produced [from the 1950s] until now. (said Dr Wilcox)
- By 2050, the amount of plastic in our oceans will outweigh and outnumber all sea life.
- Plastic is a substance the earth CANNOT digest. Further, it is made from a non-renewable natural element; oil. So in short, we are drilling holes in our planet, stealing its oil in excess and then choking our planet with the product. How long can this really continue?
SO YEP, PLASTIC = NOT SO FANTASTIC.
I've built a large part of my life around trying to remake discarded plastic into useful items with BAIIA. And while it serves a purpose we believe in, we ultimately know this isn't the ideal solution. Recycling isn’t going to fix anything unless we all start being a little more conscious of the consequences of our ‘convenience’ habits.
Sure, sometimes the statistics can feel a little overwhelming - almost to the point of making you feel helpless. But there’s little joy in life if your actions are derived from overwhelm and helplessness. Having a genuine want to help the world and letting your actions be a reflection of that is infinitely more fulfilling. No one will ever be able to tell you exactly what your impact is, and that’s okay. It’s not about figures - it’s about wanting to to make sure the planet you left behind is now a little better because of your existence.. That’s real legacy.
HOW DO I HELP?
With global production of plastic increasing exponentially, the amount of plastic finding its way into the ocean is likely to get much bigger. How do we stop the demand? Simple, we stop supporting the businesses who continue to create it mindlessly. Consumers hold the power, because they control where their dollar goes. Businesses only follow where they know the money flows. You get my drift?
There are so many simple things you can be doing to reduce the collective consumption rate of plastic. Here's one example: If each Australian family used 1 less plastic bag each week that would be 253 million bags less a year… that’s huge!
For more, check out my Beginner’s Plastic Detox Guide Below. Share it with your pals, encourage them to join you, and hold eachother accountable.
I hope you found this post useful. If there's anything else you'd like to see more of, pllleeeaase let me know us the comments below :)