Low-cost, lightweight and resistant, plastic has benefits we can not deny. But, unfortunately, we now see the consequences of our intense use, little recycling and leak into nature, where it negatively impacts rivers, oceans, wildlife and humans.
To take action we need to understand the wide-ranging, negative impacts of the problem. The challenge begins at production. Let’s take a look at some of the facts:
- Since 1950, there have been 8.3 billion tons of plastics produced: 6.3 billion tons ended up as waste out of which 9% has been recycled, 12% was incinerated, and 79% ended up in landfills and nature. Most plastics can be recycled.
- Annual plastic production of ∼300 million tons of which 8m tons enters the oceans every year.
Naturally, this leads us to our next challenge: the waste.
- Plastic waste is expected to quadruple from 2010 to 2050 and global recycling capacity will only cover 1/3 of the waste.
- China, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam generate more ocean plastic waste than the rest of the world combined.
The consequences are widespread- and especially the long term impact and the consequences for humans are not yet fully understood.
- By 2050, it is predicted that there will be more plastic than fish in the oceans.
- 90% of bottled water and 70% – 90% of tap water contains plastic fibers.
Action has to be taken on multiple fronts, which is why we are all responsible- not only as individuals, but as entrepreneurs, institutions, and companies. Check back here soon for a blog post where we’ll explore the solutions and people who are part of the Impact Hub network and already taking action. Check out who else is working on this problem:
- Planet or Plastic (National Geographic)
- The costs of plastic (World Finance)
- One of the defining characteristics of a new epoch in the planet’s history (The Independent)
- The race to save the planet from plastic (Vox)
Read the full article about the problem of plastics at Impact Hub Network.
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