There are so many reasons “why” to live zero waste lifestyle.
You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do, makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make. – Jane Goodall
Little bit of history
Plastic shopping bags or single use plastic bags have been in use by consumers worldwide since the 1960s.
Plastic bottles were first used commercially in 1947 but remained relatively expensive until the early 1960s when high-density polyethylene was introduced.
The world’s first fully synthetic plastic was bakelite, invented in New York in 1907 by Leo Baekeland who coined the term ‘plastics’. Many chemists have contributed to the material science of plastics, including Nobel laureate Hermann Staudinger who has been called “the father of polymer chemistry” and Herman Mark, known as “the father of polymer physics”.
The success and dominance of plastics starting in the early 20th century led to environmental concerns regarding its slow decomposition rate after being discarded as trash due to its composition of very large molecules. Toward the end of the century, one approach to this problem was met with wide efforts toward Recycling.
Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET)’s discovery is credited to employees of the Calico Printers’ Association in the UK in 1941; it was licensed to DuPont for the USA and ICI otherwise, and as one of the few plastics appropriate as a replacement for glass in many circumstances, resulting in widespread use for bottles in Europe.
PLASTIC is a 375 BILLION DOLLAR a YEAR INDUSTRY.
EVERY PIECE OF PLASTIC THAT HAS BEEN CREATED IS STILL ON THE EARTH TODAY.
PLASTIC ONLY “DEGRADES” WHICH MEANS IT BREAKS DOWN INTO SMALLER PIECES BUT NEVER DISAPPEARS. – It is well known that plastic does not degrade spontaneously, however, when continuously exposed to salts-rich marine waters, light radiations from the sun plastic breaks down into microplastics, an aerosol of particles smaller than 1 millimetres floating on superficial waters and generating a marine equivalent of smog. According to the United Nations as many as 51 trillion microplastic particles – 500 times more than stars in our galaxy – litter our seas. (waste-management-world.com)
EVERY STRAW OR WATER BOTTLE WE HAVE CONSUMED IS STILL HERE. IT WON’T GO AWAY.
WHERE IS AWAY, ANYWAY?
- Global plastic production has topped 300 million per year and this figure is expected to double in the next twenty years. This level of growth, from practically nothing in 1950 is alarming. (waste-management-world.com)
- According to the United Nations as many as 51 trillion microplastic particles – 500 times more than stars in our galaxy – litter our seas. These particles act as magnets for the pollution already in the oceans, such as the chemicals that used to be used in insecticides and industrial equipment, DDT and PCBs respectively. These particles are ingested by plankton, then by fish, then by us if we eat fish. (waste-management-world.com)
- It takes 500 to 1,000 years for plastic to break down in landfills. But how do we know, if it’s only been around for half a century?
The truth is that we don’t know. 👉When first-hand evidence is not available, scientists often use respirometry tests to estimate long-term decomposition rate. A solid waste sample is placed into an aerated vessel with microbe-rich compost for several days. During this period the microorganisms assimilate the sample and produce carbon dioxide, the level of which serves as an indicator of the amount of degradation. However, WHEN SCIENTISTS TEST PLASTICS NOTHING HAPPENS. NO CO2 IS PRODUCED, MEANING THAT IT DOESN’T UNDERGO DECOMPOSITION. WASTE TRANSFORMING MICROORGANISMS WON’T TOUCH PET & OTHER PETROLEUM-BASED PLASTICS, SO THEY OBVIOUSLY DON’T DEGRADE THE SAME WAY AS ORGANIC MATERIALS, such as WOOD or FOOD SCRAPS.
The 500 year estimate or 1000 year lifetime cited in news sources and spread by social media is another way of saying ‘an EXTREMELY LONG TIME’, CLOSE TO ‘NEVER’. (waste2wear.com)
- Plastic constitutes approximately 90% of all trash floating on the ocean’s surface, with 46 000 pieces of plastic per square mile.
- At least 10% of the 100 million tons of plastic we use every year end up in the oceans. This is equivalent to the weight of 700 billion plastic bottles. Put on top of each other these bottles would reach further than the sun. 👉Ocean currents have created several gigantic “plastic soups” around the world. No-one knows the size of these, but they could cover up to 16 million km2, or the combined size of Europe, India and Mexico.
👉The plastic soup has been growing 10 times in size every decade since the 1950s. If nothing is done now, this problem will spin completely out of control.
👉Fish and shellfish contain toxic chemicals at concentrations as high as nine million times (!) those found in the water in which they swim. (theworldcounts.com)
- Over the last 10 years we have produced more plastic than during the whole of the last century.
- We create a lot of plastic waste. And a lot of it ends up in the oceans. All this plastic does not go away but builds up to create a gigantic “plastic ocean soup”. 👉Imagine Russia made of plastic. Our plastic waste has created a gigantic “plastic soup” in the Pacific of up to 15 million square kilometres – almost the size of Russia.
👉Over the next 10 years, the plastic soup could double in size. At this speed, the plastic grows as much as 8 football fields every second.
👉The plastic soup consists mainly of plastic bottles and caps and above all, plastic bags.
👉In the plastic soup there are 60 pounds of surface plastic to every one pound of plankton.
👉Plastic normally takes thousands of years to decompose
- Enough plastic is thrown away each year to circle our planet 4x.
- Almost 9 million tons of plastic are dumped into the ocean each year.
- Around 6 billion pounds of non-compostable plastic exists today.
- Around 50% of the plastic we use, we use just once and throw away.
- Around 1 million sea birds and 100 000 marine mammals are killed annually from plastic in our oceans.
- Over 90% of all seabirds have plastic pieces in their stomachs.
- Around 100 000 turtles die every year from ingesting plastic.
- Microplastic polution in the seas now outnumber stars in our galaxy.
- Every square mile in the ocean has over 46 000 pieces of floating plastic in it.
- By 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the sea.
- The United Nations Environment Programme estimated in 2006 that every square mile of ocean contains 46 000 pieces of floating plastic (unesco.org)
- Every year we dump a massive 2.12 billion tons of waste. If all this waste was put on trucks they would go around the world 24 times.
👉This stunning amount of waste is partly because 99% of the stuff we buy is trashed within 6 months. (theworldcounts.com)
- This year 5 trillion plastic bags will be consumed. That is 160 000 a second.
👉Most bags are simply thrown out. Less than 1% are recycled. They are most often made from Polyethylene that takes centuries to degrade. Each ton of recycled plastic bags saves the energy equivalent of 11 barrels of oil.
👉In total, we use 100 million tons of plastic every year. Some 10% of this plastic end up in the oceans. 👉In the ocean, the plastic is broken down to tiny pieces. These pieces are eaten by fish and cannot be digested. Consequently the plastic builds up and enter into the food chain.
👉Seabirds, turtles, seals, sea lions, whales and fish eat the plastics. The death of one sperm whale found in California (USA) in 2008 was caused by 22.2 kilos of plastic that the whale had eaten. (theworldcounts.com)
- Nearly 2 million plastic bags are used every minute.
- Each year, 1 trillion plastic bags are used worldwide.
- Plastic bag has an “average life” of 15 minutes.
- 160 000 plastic bags are used globally every second. And only 1 – 3% of plastic bags are recycled worldwide.
PLASTIC BOTTLES & CUPS
- More than 100 million plastic bottles are used every day.
- Globally, 1 million plastic bottles are bought every minute – or about 20 000 per second. (ecowatch.com)
- Globally, about 480 billion plastic bottles were purchased in 2016 but less than half gets recycled, meaning most of this waste ends up in our oceans and landfills. Even worse, the report notes that the world’s increasing thirst for bottled beverages, especially in economically growing Asian countries, will bump these figures up another 20%, or 583.3 billion bottles, by 2021 – fuelling a crisis that experts believe will be as serious as climate change. If you need to buy them, please recycle them. (ecowatch.com)
- It takes 3x the volume of water to manufacture 1 bottle of water than it does to fill it.
- Plastic bottle can break down into over 10 000 pieces of microplastic.
- There are 1 500 water bottles consumed per second in America.
- Americans use 2.5 million plastic bottles every hour. Most of them are thrown away or tossed on the ground.
- According to the Container Recycling Institute, 100.7 billion plastic beverage bottles were sold in the U.S. in 2014, or 315 bottles per person. 57% of those units were plastic water bottles: 57.3 billion sold in 2014. This is up from 3.8 billion plastic water bottles sold in 1996, the earliest year for available data.
- It takes around 80 years for a plastic cup to decompose.
- Over 500 million plastic straws are used every day in America.
- Over 500 000 000 plastic straws are produced every day, only to be used for a couple of minutes. Eventually, most of these straws end up in the oceans, adding to the billions of tons of trash already there.
- Over 4.7 billion plastic toothbrushes that will never biodegrade are dumped in landfills and oceans every year worldwide.
PLASTIC UTENSILS & STYROFOAM
- 40 billion plastic utensils are used and discarded every year in America.
- Only 0.08% of food packaging made from styrofoam is actually recycled.
- In Amerika, over 2 billion disposable razor are thrown away every year.
It is more than sad, what we had done within these couple of years and continue doing to our beautiful planet.
Unfortunately, WATER & AIR, the 2 essential fluids on which all life depends on, HAVE BECOME GLOBAL GARBAGE CANS.
EVERY TIME YOU SPEND MONEY, YOU ARE CREATING A VOTE FOR THE KIND OF WORLD YOU WANT.
Small positive acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world.
- Plastic bags
- Plastic bottle
- Single use object
- Unnecessary packaging
Learn about What is zero waste lifestyle
Read about My journey to zero waste lifestyle
Try these homemade ideas to make your own products.
Connect with me @discover.north.cyprus
Join @our.planet.our.home on Instagram – world wide zero waste community
Read this article about ““Whale dies from eating more than 80 plastic bags”
And also another article from Indonesia: “Dead whale had 1 000 pieces of plastic in stomach”
Check these heartbreaking pictures which Randy Olson took
Pictures taken by Greenpeace in
Thank you for stopping by. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask me.
Thank you very much
From my heart to yours