Plastic Stats

The world’s annual consumption of plastic materials has increased from around 5 million tonnes in the 1950s to nearly 100 million tonnes today. (WRAP)

The amount of plastic waste generated annually in the UK is estimated to be nearly 5 million tonnes. (WRAP)

Most families throw away about 40kg of plastic per year, which could otherwise be recycled.

According to the Beverage Marketing Corporation, Americans bought a total of 31.2 billion liters of water in 2006, Most of this water was sold in polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles, requiring nearly 900,000 tons of the plastic and more than 106 billion megajoules of energy.

The plastics manufacturing industry stat it takes around 3.4 megajoules of energy to make a typical one-liter plastic bottle, cap, and packaging.

A barrel of oil contains around 6 thousand megajoules.

One estimate is that plastic pollution alone could be costing developing and industrialised nations up to $1.27 Billion annually as it threatens fishing, shipping and tourism (McIlgorm et al, 2008)

One tonne of plastics is equivalent to 20,000 two litre drinks bottles or 120,000 carrier bags (LINPAC )

Recycling just one plastic bottle saves enough energy to power a 60W light bulb for six hours

It takes just 25 two litre pop bottles to make one adult size fleece jacket.

The use of plastic in Western Europe is growing about 4% each year.

13 billion plastic carrier bags are used in the UK each year. Shoppers worldwide are using approximately 500 billion single-use plastic bags per year.

Plastic can take up to 500 years to decompose.

All types of plastic are recyclable.

Over 50% of litter found on UK beaches in 2008 was plastic litter, an increase of more than 120% since 1994.

75% of post consumer plastic waste is sent to landfill.

Every year an estimated 4.5 billion plastic bags are given away by UK supermarkets.

Plastic bags and other plastic rubbish kill thousands of animals every year.

If you lined up all the polystyrene foam cups made in just 1 day they would circle the earth.

The floods in Bangladesh in 1988 & 1998 were made more severe because plastic bags clogged drains. The government has now banned plastic bags.

More than 40 species of fish, globally, are known to consume plastic.

In Ireland they introduced a 15c plastic bag tax and reduced their usage by 90% in one year. It is now 22 cents.

There are believed to be 46,000 pieces of plastic in every square mile of ocean.

There are 5 ocean gyres in the world where plastic gathers due to current circulation.

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