Plastic is everywhere. Most of our food and drink are wrapped up in it, its in the clothes we wear, and in the devices we use. And it’s now also in the deepest part of the oceans and in the most remote parts of the world. Plastic has become a really big problem. We've put together 10 key facts that you should know on the reality of plastic pollution.
Experts think that by 2050, the amount of plastic in the ocean will weigh more than the amount of fish in the ocean. And there are around 33,600 species of fish, so there’s already a lot of fish in our seas. And so there will be A LOT of plastic…
‘Trash islands’ are now a lot more common – with the largest and most famous one being the Great Pacific Garbage Patch(between the coasts of California and Hawaii).
There are also micro plastics (these are the tiny bits of plastic we can’t see), and this can come from things like the breakdown of larger plastics, washing our clothes, or the wear and tear of car tyres.
Nearly every bit of plastic that has ever been made and chucked away still exists somewhere in the world today - it takes 500-1,000 years for plastic to breakdown or degrade.
Not all plastics are recyclable. This is because there are different types of plastic and some of them are worth more money, so they are the ones that end up being recycled. To find out more about what plastics can be recycled here in Sheffield, please see our plastics recycling guide.
Single-use plastics make up for 40% of the plastic that’s made every year. This is the plastic we use once and then throw away. These include takeaway coffee cups, which you can find out more about in our Lifecycle of a Coffee Cup post.
Plastics have been consumed by land-based animals, as well as sea life, including elephants, hyenas, zebras, tigers, and other large mammals, in some cases causing death.