• #1 leading cause of plastic pollution: plastic
  • US. 91% of plastics are not recycled. The amount of plastic produced in a year is roughly the same as the entire weight of humanity. Five trillion plastic bags are produced worldwide annually. It can take up to 1,000 years for a bag to disintegrate completely. Americans throw away 100 billion bags annually– that’s the equivalent to dumping nearly 12 million barrels of crude oil! By switching to reusable shopping bags, we can eliminate that waste– which amounts to about 307 bags per person. Americans alone use half a billion drinking straws every day. The world uses 500 billion plastic cups every year. The world also produces more than 29 million US tons of polystyrene (plastic foam) each year. Americans alone throw away around 25 billion Styrofoam coffee cups every year. In 2017, packaging production constituted the highest-demanded use for plastic, with 146 million metric tons used. At least 14 million tons of plastic end up in our oceans every year. Many countries lack the infrastructure to prevent plastic pollution such as: sanitary landfills; incineration facilities; recycling capacity and circular economy infrastructure; proper management and disposal of waste systems. When plastics end up in landfills, they aren’t harmless. They break down into tiny toxic particles that contaminate the soil and waterways and enter the food chain when animals accidentally ingest them. Researchers in Germany indicate that terrestrial microplastic pollution is much higher than marine microplastic pollution– estimated at four to 23 times higher, depending on the environment. This could ultimately have adverse health effects on humans and animals. Microplastics are now everywhere. They sit at the bottom of the sea, mix into beach sand, and blow in the wind. They’re also inside us, and have been found in our faecal matter. A new study in the journal Environmental Science and Technology says it's possible that humans may be consuming anywhere from 39,000 to 52,000 microplastic particles a year. With added estimates of how much microplastic might be inhaled, that number is more than 74,000. The study reviewed existing research on microplastics found in beer, salt, seafood, sugar, alcohol, and honey. To calculate how often one person might eat each of those items in a year, the study looked at recommendations made by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The research team also looked at studies that reviewed the amount of microplastics in drinking water and air. People who meet their recommended water intake through tap water ingest an additional 4,000 plastic particles annually, while those who drink only bottled water ingest an additional 90,000, the study found. Study author Kieran Cox expects that his conclusions are underestimates, and that it's likely people are consuming far more. Humans consume microplastics via many channels. We might ingest them while eating seafood, breath them in through the air, or consume food with trace amounts of its plastic packaging. For this reason, it's difficult to completely avoid them, says Cox, “if not impossible.” Certain lifestyle changes like drinking trap water instead of bottled water would reduce the amount of microplastics a person consumes, “A lot of the items we considered are the ones you're eating raw. We haven't gotten to the layers and layers of plastic packaging. Among the research they reviewed, microfibers were by far the most commonly found type of plastic. Microfibers shed from textiles like nylon and polyester. They often wash off clothes and enter the ecosystem through washing machine wastewater. Fragments of plastic like those commonly used for bags and straws were the second most common plastic found. Plastic pollution extends beyond marine wildlife.
  • Creamcrackered is right, but I once saw that recycling plastic was mixed in with new plastic and it was just as good as not recycling source, but the companies had to have it all go through way too many processes to get it to right standards and all, cleaning, bleaching colors out of it, etc...
  • All plastic is made from some type of oil, most of it crud. I think therefore oil causes most of the plastic pollution.
  • People are the cause of plastic pollution who just don’t care where they put the plastic
    • 11stevo73
      when the bin is full what do you do?
    • Shadow Of The Mind
      If the bin is full I would put the plastic in a new bin bag
  • The biggest cause for the use of plastic is the manufacturers. I grew up in the fifties when almost nothing was plastic. Our household trash was divided into two categories, garbage (food waste picked up by a "garbageman") and refuse. The refuse was picked up by a trash collector or burned in a barrel in the yard. We lived in an area where we could burn our trash. The majority of that trash was paper, metal (cans), and glass. The metal and glass didn't burn completely. The remains would be put in a trash can for a trash collection. A few items would be made of plastic such as toys, tool handles, drinking cups, etc. If those were broken, they would go to the trash collections. ALL packaging was paper, cardboard, or cellulose, ALL bottles and jars were glass. ALL were made from renewable resources. All worked just fine for their purpose. The only reason that packaging today is plastic is because it's cost effective for the manufacturers!!

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