Did you know?
- More than 8 billion tonnes of plastic have been produced since its invention six decades ago1,
- Only 9% of plastic waste is recycled2,
- 12% is incinerated3,
- Most of it is in landfill or littered around the world on land and sea4,
- We don’t know how long it survives once discarded; depending on the type of plastic it could be 20 to 1000 years5,
- Globally we purchase 1 million plastic bottles per minute6,
- Australians now use around 6 billion plastic bags per year7,
- Plastic bags are never free; somebody pays 4–6 cents for every plastic bag manufactured, while costs are passed on to consumers8, and then,
- there are the costs to collect plastic as litter, transport it to landfill or incinerate it.
These are just the financial costs. The environmental costs are higher:
- Plastics are made from non-renewable resources – gas, crude oil and coal9,
- The manufacture of plastics produces greenhouse gases, about 6 kilos of CO2 for every kilo of plastic10,
- Plastic finds its way into our rivers and oceans where marine creatures ingest it; this can kill them by choking or poison them with toxins11,
- Toxins leach from plastic in landfill and can find their way into waterways12,
- Toxins leached from plastic and ingested by marine creatures can find their way into our food13, and
- The UN estimates that, by weight, there will be more plastic than fish in the world’s oceans by 2050 if we don’t change our behaviour14.