Plastic is inexpensive, easy to make, durable and can be recycled. Win-win-win-win, right? Not so fast. This is an idea very much sold to us by the powerful plastic lobbies, which are closely linked to oil lobbies since plastic is made from oil and supported by many politicians. However, the reality is that our plastic consumption is out of control and our planet is slowly becoming entirely covered in it. Here are so numbers that might be hard to believe, but that show just how serious this problem is:
In the Los Angeles area alone, 10 metric tons of plastic fragments—like grocery bags, straws and soda bottles—are carried into the Pacific Ocean every day.
50 percent of the plastic we use is thrown away after just one use
It takes between 500-1000 years for plastic to degrade
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is located in the North Pacific Gyre and is covered in plastic across an area that is twice the size of Texas.
One million plastic bags are used around the world every minute, or 500 billion each year.
It should be clear by now that this is not just an “issue.” It’s an epidemic and it’s out of control. Steps must be taken to clean up the immense amount of plastic that can be found around the world and to reign in consumption and waste. If not, the Plastic Age might just be the last great age this Earth ever sees.
The first step in attacking this problem is obviously to clean up the mess we’ve made. Plastic and other pollutants make it to beaches, rivers, streams, lakes and almost every other corner of this beautiful planet. It interferes with ecosystems and puts animals in great danger.
However, alongside this, we must also work to reduce. By showing people how serious this problem is and by offering practical solutions, such as using reusable grocery bags and water bottles, we can help to reign in the amount of plastic we use and take serious steps towards correcting this very grave problem facing our planet and our society.