You may toss that plastic bottle or plastic container into you recycle bin, and not think twice about it. After all, you’re doing the right thing (right?) and recycling and doing your part of the job to protect our planet and reduce waste.
But, unfortunately, there’s a stark, frantic reality to plastics: less than 10 percent of plastics in the U.S. get recycled. In fact, we’re facing a plastic epidemic. There’s a staggering 6.9 billion tons of plastic waste around the globe. And—even more alarming—6.3 billion tons of that plastic waste has never seen the inside of a recycling bin.
Plastics: a giant, global problem
Plastic didn’t come around until about 1950, so we have that to be thankful for. When plastics hit an all-time popularity, it was a celebrated solution. Suddenly, we had plastic wrap to help our food last longer; we had throwaway utensils; we had bottles we didn’t have to clean.
But the celebration was short-lived. Currently, vast unmeasured amounts of plastic floats through our ocean waters. One scientist, back in 2015, estimated that our ocean gets 8.8 million tons of plastic waste annually from around the world. That could take somewhere between 450 years to who-knows-when to biodegrade.
Plastic in our ocean kills millions of animals each year. Sometimes the damage is done in a very visible way—perhaps we might see marine animals get strangled by plastic nets or caught in plastic rings. But an undetermined number of animals are harmed without any such display—these animals are eating plastic now, as part of their regular marine diet.
It appears plastics in our ocean are almost unavoidable these days. So much so that people are ranking plastics right up there with climate change as urgent world matters.
Solutions within reach
However, unlike climate change, the problem of plastics offers no mystery. Scientists know what must be done: we must use less plastic. We must recycle more plastic. We must pick up our waste and be responsible.
Recycle 1 is dedicated to helping businesses produce less waste. We’re dedicated to guiding businesses on how to achieve cost-efficient solutions to the plastics they currently throw away or recycle. We are experts in waste management. We can help you achieve Zero Waste.
Join Recycle1 as we explore plastics: the current landscape, what we can do about it, and how Recycle 1 can help. This article is the first in a series of articles to explore plastics and how it affects our world.