Why your plastic matters.
At one point in history, plastic seemed to be a miracle material: it was cheap, durable and fit in to nearly every industry. But what proved to be a solution then is a problem for us now. Whether it sits in a landfill, enters the ocean and harms marine life, or breaks down into smaller particles and contaminates water sources, plastic never fully decomposes. The amount of plastic on our planet simply stockpiles as time goes on, and now we’re forced to face the consequences. The statistics gathered here are meant to demonstrate the scale of plastic waste currently weighing on our planet, and we hope you’ll see that we can solve the issue the same way we’ve contributed to it: one choice at a time.
Plastic bottles discarded in the U.S. every year.
In case all those zeroes are too numerous to count, 38 billion bottles are discarded in the U.S. every year. That’s over a hundred times as many bottles in this country as there are people, or roughly 116 bottles per person. It may not seem like choosing to use a reusable water bottle will help in any significant way, but even that one small act is likely saving hundreds of bottles from landfills.
TONS of plastic waste every year.
That’s enough plastic to wrap around the Earth four times, every year. Or, if you prefer zoo animals, annual plastic waste is equivalent to 2 million elephants. Even these perspectives can be hard to truly internalize, because our minds don’t know how to process numbers that high. At some point, one amount of elephants or journeys ’round the Earth sounds arbitrary in comparison to any other, which is why these numbers are so alarming. We’ve produced more waste than our minds have the capacity to comprehend.
How much of our plastic we ACTUALLY recycled last year nationally.
I know what you’re thinking: what about recycling? Isn’t that our saving grace from simply being wasteful? Sadly, the answer is no. A shockingly low amount of plastic actually gets recycled every year. Much of it gets exported to foreign countries, where majority of it ends up filling landfills because it is either contaminated or too costly to convert. This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t try to recycle when we can, but we should be trying to make the switch to as many reusable tools as we can.
Years for the other 91.6% to degrade.
While plastic is only a recent invention, it currently outlives us all. It takes about 400 years for most plastics to degrade, which means that even though plastic was created over 100 years ago, every piece of plastic ever made still exists today. The toothbrushes that your parents or grandparents used when they were kids are still around, polluting either land or sea. Even when plastic does finally degrade, it simply breaks up into smaller parts. These toxic particles usually manage to trickle into groundwater or into the digestive systems of marine organisms, eventually making their way into our bodies.
How you can make a difference.
As you’ve hopefully seen, behind each of these statistics are real human lives. Each of us has contributed to the problem in some way, but each of us has the power to be part of the solution. We hope to be a part of your journey to cut back on plastic use. Click here to learn more, and sign up for our 7 day free bottleless water cooler trial.
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