Plastic is one of the most highly littered materials. It is a large part of modern life.
Smartphone cases, computer keyboards, shopping bags, and water bottles are all made with it. While plastic has been around for less than a century, it’s dramatically changed the way we live. It is very hardwearing and designed to last for a very long time. But this benefit has become a problem for our ecosystem. The question is, should large drinks and food companies share more responsibility for the world being full of litter?
They aren’t the ones who throw away empty or used packets, cans or boxes anywhere, that is true. But they are aware of this behaviour and don’t seem to be encouraging their customers enough to be more careful. Is it unreasonable to think that these companies could do more to stop litter, especially if we consider how much money they make every day?
Here are some very big number statistics;
According to the 2018 QSR Magazine Report, in 2017, McDonald’s had its most significant sales growth in six years.
While many of us enjoy a can of some drink or another, we might prefer to perhaps bring our own bottles to fill, rather than buy things which are harmful to our planet. The world is full of litter and we can all do our bit to throw ours away in a better way, but there is an argument for large corporations to find better ways to package our drinks in the first place.
So what is plastic?
According to Wictionary.org the word plastic comes from the Greek πλαστικός (plastikos) meaning “capable of being shaped and, in turn, from πλαστός (plastos) meaning “moulded”. The raw materials used to produce plastics are natural products such as cellulose, coal, natural gas, salt and, of course, crude oil.
Yes, you read that right, some plastics are a by-product of crude oil.
Some plastics can be recycled, but most ends up in landfill sites. Plastic pollution is a danger to health and the environment. Many plastics are toxic and can have a bad effect on our health. Furthermore, with so much plastic waste now in the oceans, it is affecting the earth’s ecosystem.
Here are fifteen plastic packaging statistics that will hopefully make you think more about the plastic waste you help to create.
1m plastic bottles are sold every minute. Less than half of these are recycled. or transformed into new bottles.
Plastic 6 – sea life 1
Plastic outnumbers sea life by six pieces for every one animal. Almost all (90%) of the pollution in the ocean is plastic.
9.7 m coffee cups
9.7 million coffee cups are thrown away in the UK every day! Many of these coffee cups are made from polystyrene with plastic lids.
You can see how many cans are used right at this minute by visiting The World Counts.
We drink a lot of soda and alcohol
The world’s beer and soda use about 180 billion aluminium cans every year. Another way of looking at his is 6,700 cans every second! That’s enough to go around the planet every 17 hours.
It takes more energy to mine and produce aluminium than any other metal. However, producing aluminium from recycled aluminium cans only takes 5% of the energy needed to produce new ones. So why do large corporations continue to make new cans?
What if we leave things to decompose on their own?
These days with the Covid-19 pandemic there are many disposable masks and gloves on streets and roads. Many of these are made of plastic and cleaning them up takes up a lot of time and costs a great deal too. Leaving them to decompose on their own is not an option. Why? Because plastic hardly ever decomposes…
We found a few items to compare which decomposes fastest, just so you get the picture;
- Banana peel decomposes in 2 to 10 days.
- Sugarcane waste takes 30 to 60 days.
- Orange peel decomposes within 6 months.
- Milk packet (Tetra) covers and cool drink packets decompose in 5 years.
- Leather shoes in 25 to 40 years.
- Nylon clothes take 30 to 40 years for decomposition.
- Aluminium cans decompose in 80 to 100 years.
- Plastic bottles and cans never decompose.
The world needs all of us to work together to make a better future.