It is estimated that the entire planets annual production of plastic waste is in excess of 380 MILLION tons!
Plastic bottles are made from a petroleum product known as polyethylene terephthalate (PET), and they require huge amounts of fossil fuels to both make and transport them. In the 1970s the USA was the world’s largest exporter of oil, but now it is the largest importer. If you fill a plastic bottle with liquid so that it is 25% full, that’s roughly how much oil it took to make the bottle. For a single-use disposable item, that’s a lot.
It’s harder to recycle plastic bottles than you think. Of the mass numbers of plastic bottles consumed throughout the world, most of them are not recycled because only certain types of plastic bottles can be recycled by certain municipalities. This leaves an estimated 1.04 billion tons of non-degradable, non-renewable waste that either end up lying stagnant in landfills, leaking dangerous chemicals into the ground, or they infiltrate our streets as litter. They are found on pavements, in parks, gardens, rivers and oceans and even if you chop them into tiny pieces they still take more than a human lifetime to decompose. Let alone all the particles that are ingested by marine life, this is having a detrimental effect. Over one million sea birds and 100,000 mammals die every year from ingesting or becoming trapped in plastic waste. There is now an ‘island’ of floating plastic in the Pacific..
Plastic production is estimated to use 8 percent of yearly global oil production—both as the raw material and for energy in the manufacturing process.
Many governments are now focusing on ways to manage this excessive waste pool by switching to renewable, sustainable and bio-degradable plastics.