In Australia alone the average person uses a whopping 130kg of plastic each year. It’s in our packaging, our products and has become an almost unavoidable part of our everyday lives. Frighteningly only 12 per cent of that plastic is recycled, the rest of it goes to landfill. So, let’s look deeper at the sad statistics of plastics and how everyone can play a role in reducing its use.
According to the Plastic Ocean Foundation each year humans produce 300 million tonnes of plastic – five times more than they did only 50 years ago.
Much of that is for sheer convenience, like that water bottle you buy, the plastic bag you use to carry your shopping or the packaging that contains your products.
At least half of all plastic is single use, with an average useful lifetime of just 12 minutes.
Over 8 million tonnes of this plastic makes its way into our oceans each year
For an insight into how this plastic consumption shapes up, just consider the plastic water bottle alone:
- Globally each day 20 million plastic water bottles are used
- In the US alone 38 billion go to landfill each year
- 4000 plastic water bottles are used each second
But water bottles aren’t the only offenders.
- Each year in the US and UK 550 million plastic straws are discarded.
- Up to 1 trillion single use shopping bags are thrown out worldwide
- In the US 27.4 billion disposable nappies make their way to landfill
- Two billion disposable razors are thrown out in the US annually
- 30 million toothbrushes are discarded annually in Australia each year and take up to 500 years to break down.
The problem with plastic
The problem with plastic is it never really goes away. Every single piece of plastic that was ever created still survives in some form.
An even bigger problem is that it has a nasty habit of making its way into our oceans and impacting our flora and fauna.
In Australia alone 130,000 tonnes of plastic finds its way to the ocean, the World Wildlife Fund explains.
“Considering each person produces (or uses) roughly 130 kg of plastic, it means that about 30 kg of each person’s waste could end up in the ocean.
“Not only could it end up in the ocean, but it can take hundreds of years to break down – if at all,” they state.
The WWF goes on to explain just how long common household items take to break down
- Single use bags – 20 years
- Disposable coffee cups – 30 years
- Plastic straws – 200 years
- 6-pack plastic rings – 400 years
- Plastic water bottles – 450 years
- Plastic cups – 450 years
- Coffee pods – 500 years
- Disposable nappies – 500 years
- Plastic toothbrushes – 500 years
Meanwhile, the plastic production process is equally environmentally taxing. It takes 3 litres of water and 250ml of oil to make a 1 litre plastic water bottle and, in the US alone 63 billion gallons of oil is used annually to supply the nations thirst for these bottles.
So, what can be done?
Small actions, a big difference
Small actions make a big a difference in the bid to reduce our plastic waste, and it comes down to replacing what items you can with biodegradable options.
From selecting products with minimal packaging to opting for biodegradable alternatives, the difference is as simple as small everyday choices.
These are tiny decisions like investing in a reusable coffee cup, selecting the cone rather than the cup for your ice cream, and using beeswax food wraps rather than cling film.
Meanwhile even your toothbrush can play a role. The simple act of opting for a bamboo toothbrush like the Bare Brush or embracing history through chew sticks can make a real difference over the course of your life.
About Bare Brush
At Bare Brush we have a range of natural toothbrushes offering minimal environmental impact. Our aim is to offer the best available oral hygiene tools, while also minimising our environmental footprint. It’s the best of toothbrush history and natural alternatives combined in one convenient place.