A Plastic Problem
The Dirty Facts
Over 8.3 BILLION metric tons
of plastic have been produced in the past 70 years.
Spread out ankle deep,
that's enough plastic to cover the whole of Argentina.
There are over
pieces of plastic in our oceans.
That's more plastic pieces than stars in the galaxy.
About 91% of the world's plastic has NOT been recycled. The majority (79%) is in landfills or
12% has been burned.
Around 80% of ALL marine debris is land-based plastic (items used on land).
In the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, roughly 46% of marine debris comes from fishing gear.
Plastic pollution is a worldwide epidemic - by 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish!
We're dumping between 8-12.7 MILLION metric tons of plastic into our oceans every year! That's enough to fill 5 trash bags on every single foot of coastline around the world - or the equivalent of dumping one garbage truck full of trash into the oceans every minute, continuously!
At every stage of it's life cycle, plastic pollution is damaging to the environment. The production of plastic utilizes petroleum and gives off toxic emissions.
As packaging, plastic leaches into our food and water - yes, we're eating and drinking plastic! Post life use, most plastic either ends up in a landfill or littering our environment. Only an estimated 9% of the world's plastic has actually been recycled.
When plastic reaches our waterways, its a big threat to wildlife.
Every year, thousands of sea turtles, dolphins, sharks, fish, seals, whales and sea birds die from plastic ingestion or entanglement.
When plastic is exposed to salt water, sun, and wind, it breaks down into microscopic plastic pieces - known as microplastics -
that have been found everywhere from the bottom of the deepest ocean trenches to Arctic ice core samples.
These days, microplastics have been found in places that might surprise you: tap water, bottled water (okay, this one's not really a surprise - right?!), sea salt, honey, beer, air samples, dust in the homes, and even human poop. Ew, who wants that in there?
We need to attack the plastic pollution problem from all angles - governments, businesses, schools, and individuals need to get on board - and that means you!
People around the world, on many levels, are taking on the plastic pollution problem. At Plastic Free Israel, we believe that we all must do our part: start with the basics, learn your R's and make small, simple changes. Going plastic free can seem overwhelming at first, but we're here to guide you and help you along the way.
Remember stay kind to yourself and practice your R's:
REFUSE - say NO to single-use plastic as much as possible. Start with the easy ones: water bottles, plastic bags, straws, silverware. When you're ready, graduate from plastic-wrapped foods and packaged goods. Bring your own container for takeaway - people do this, we promise!
REDUCE - the amount of waste you create. Opt for paper packaging over paper. Buy second-hand. Really consider if you're buying something because you need it or because you want it - when you're done with it, where will that item end up?
REUSE - materials as much as you can. Glass and sturdy plastic jars can be refilled or used for dried goods, old papers and card can be used for art projects. Almost everything has potential for a second life.
REPAIR - just because something is a little worn, doesn't mean it's no longer good. Fix tears in clothing, learn (or ask for assistance) in repairing small electronics, and think twice before you upgrade that phone.
RECYCLE - last on the list because it should be the last option for our goods! Recycling can be done efficiently and effectively but can also take energy and resources. Certain plastics and materials cannot be recycled at all and often recycled plastic goods turn into more plastic goods that can't be recycled. In Israel our recycling is VERY limited, so let's imagine we never had to use it - wouldn't that be great?!
We get it. Living a plastic-free life sounds ideal and lovely, but maybe potentially... impossible?! Plastic Free Israel isn't about going plastic-free completely. Some plastics are beneficial, such as those used in medicine and others that help make the world more accessible to everyone.
But the single-use plastic, the little water cups and single-use bottles and plastic-bags-for-three-items at the makolet - those we can do without!
That's the plastic-free Israel we want to see - for us and for the planet!
Around 700 different marine
species are affected
by plastic pollution - from corals to fish to seals,
every marine creature
is at risk.
Nearly 90% of sea birds and 33% of sea turtles have ingested plastic. 48 whale and dolphin species have also been documented ingesting plastic.
A 2018 study of
102 sea turtles from the Atlantic, Pacific
found that 100% had plastic
in their body.
In the ocean, plastic looks and smells like food to marine life. Marine creatures will eat anything from plastic bags, straws, and bottles to car parts - all of which can be deadly.
Beverage companies produce 500 billion single-use plastic bottles every year.
The Coca Cola company is responsible for about 25% of these bottles.
Companies like Pepsi Co. (owners of Frito-Lay) sell
BILLIONS of bags of potato
chips every year - the majority of which are not recyclable.
1 MILLION coffee cups hit landfills every minute around the world. That's about 500 BILLION single-use, plastic-lined coffee cups in a year.
Today, about 60% of clothes are made using synthetic fibers like nylon and polyester, which can shed hundreds of thousands of plastic microfibers with every wash.