Global Impact

10 Mind-blowing facts that prove how harmful plastic is to our planet

Mar 23, 2018
Austin Langlois
Contributing Author
Austin Langlois
Contributing Author

We have a plastic problem. You’ve probably heard that plastic is bad for the environment, but how bad is it really? We’ve compiled a list of 10 facts that prove the negative effects of plastic. Interested in how to reduce your plastic consumption? Check out our past blog posts for actionable ways to put the planet first.

1. Plastic will never fully disappear. In fact, all the plastic that has ever been made is still in our environment. According to an article in Chemistry & Biology, “disposed plastic materials can remain in the environment for up to 2,000 years and longer.”

2. Making plastic uses a lot of water. It takes 22 gallons of water to make one pound of plastic, or more simply, it takes six bottles of water to make 1 bottle of water. (Water Footprint Calculator)

3. Plastic is made from oil. Oil is a nonrenewable fossil fuel that’s buried plant and animal remains from millions of years ago. (U.S. Energy Information Administration)

4. Every day, 60 million plastic water bottles are thrown away. The average American uses 173 water bottles each year, and most don’t get recycled. (It’s All You)

5. If one out of every 20 Americans stopped using water bottles, 30 pounds of plastic could be save annually. Just think about how much one family, one school or one community could save by not using water bottles. It adds up quickly! (Sustainability Slogans)

6. By 2050, there will be more waste plastics in the ocean than fish (by weight). According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s The New Plastics Economy report released in 2016, “at least 8m tonnes of plastics leak into the ocean – which is equivalent to dumping the contents of one garbage truck into the ocean every minute.” (The Guardian)

7. There’s a plastic landmass that’s 1.5 times the size of Texas in the South Pacific. You might think it’s a tower of floating bottles and bags, it’s actually worse. It’s tiny, confetti-like pieces of plastic that are nearly impossible to clean up. (Research Gate)

8. Ocean plastic waste can kill as many as 1 million sea creatures. They are victims of the nearly 8 million metric tons of plastic that washes into our oceans on a yearly basis. (The Balance)

9. 93% of Americans age six or older test positive for Bisphenol A (BPA). BPA is a chemical compound that’s used in the manufacturing of polycarbonate plastics. They’re found in everything from computers and food containers to water bottles and food cans. When the chemical bonds deteriorate, BPA is released and can leach into your food and water. (National Geographic)

10. Enough plastic is thrown away each year to circle the earth four times. (Reuse This Bag)

So, the next time you reach for a plastic water bottle, plastic bag or plastic wrap, think again. Is there a better, more sustainable option? Need some ideas? Tweet us, or send us a message on Facebook or Instagram. We’d be happy to offer substitute ideas to help make our earth plastic-free.


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