Global Plastic Pollution by the Numbers:

  • Up to 5 trillion plastic bags used each year

  • 13 million tonnes of plastic leak into the ocean each year

  • 17 million barrels of oil used on plastic production each year

  • 1 million plastic bottles bought every minute

  • 100,000 marine animals killed by plastics each year

  • 100 years for plastic to degrade in the environment

  • 90% of bottled water found to contain plastic particles

  • 83% of tap water worldwide was found to contain plastic particles (94% of tap water in the US)

  • 50% of consumer plastics are single use

  • 10% of all human-generated waste is plastic

  • 300 million tonnes of plastic are being created each year 

  • Approximately 500 BILLION plastic bags are used world wide - more than 1 million each minute 


Canadian Plastic Pollution by the Numbers: 

  • Canadians use approximately 2.5 BILLION litres of bottled water per year 

  • 1 BILLION single-use plastic bags are handed out in Canada each year 

  • Canadians throw away approximately 57 million single-use plastic straws EVERYDAY, that's more than 2 BILLION each year (that's enough to circle the Earth 8 times!) 


shocking facts: 

• Plastic pollution is a defining environmental challenge for our time

• In the next 10-15 years global plastic production is projected to nearly double

• The process of producing bottled water water requires around 6 times as much water per bottle as there is in the container

• If plastic was a country, it would be the world’s 20th-largest economy, bigger than those of Austria, Argentina, Egypt, and dozens of others.

• Virtually every piece of plastic that was ever made still exists in some shape or form (with the exception of the small amount that has been incinerated).

• There is more microplastic in the ocean than there are stars in the Milky Way.

• The amount of plastic produced in a year is roughly the same as the entire weight of humanity.

• If plastic production isn’t curbed, plastic pollution will outweigh fish pound for pound by 2050.

• Widespread use of plastics has surpassed all other man-made materials except steel and cement.


loggerhead-turtle-sea-ocean-water save the oceans

What you can do to help! 

  • Choose to reuse when it comes to shopping bags and bottled water. Cloth bags and metal or glass reusable bottles are available locally at great prices.
  • Refuse single-serving packaging, excess packaging, straws and other "disposable" plastics. Carry reusable utensils in your purse, backpack or car to use at bbq's, potlucks or take-out restaurants. For extra credit, keep your own food storage container in your car for when you eat out and want to take your leftovers home. 
  • Reduce everyday plastics such as sandwich bags and juice cartons by replacing them with a reusable lunch bag/box that includes a thermos.
  • Bring your to-go mug with you to the coffee shop, smoothie shop or restaurants that let you use them, which is a great way to reduce lids, plastic cups and/or plastic-lined cups.
  • Go digital! No need for plastic cds, dvds and jewel cases when you can buy your music and videos online.
  • STOP BUYING BOTTLED WATER! Invest in a reusable water bottle. Don't leave home without it. 
  • Seek out alternatives to the plastic items that you rely on.
  • Recycle. If you must use plastic, try to choose #1 (PETE) or #2 (HDPE), which are the most commonly recycled plastics. Avoid plastic bags and polystyrene foam as both typically have very low recycling rates.
  • Cook more. Not only is it healthier for you, but homemade meals don't involve take-out containers or doggy bags. 
  • Purchase items secondhand. New toys and electronic gadgets, especially, come with all kinds of plastic packaging. Search the shelves of thrift stores, neighborhood garage sales, or online postings for items that are just as good when previously used. You’ll save yourself a few bucks, too.
  • Clean up garbage that you see lying around. Keep an eye out when you're walking the dog, walking to your car, etc. 
  • Buy in bulk. Stop buying single-serving, individually wrapped items. Buy in bulk, package it yourself and save money while doing it. 
  • Spread the word. Talk to your family and friends about why it is important to reduce plastic in our lives and the nasty impacts of plastic pollution.
  • Make yourself heard. If you think there is a better way your company can be doing things - make a stand. Be the change you want to see in the world! 

Further Reading: 

The Plastic Invasion   |  The Plastic Inside Us   

World Environment Day 2018

1. http://worldenvironmentday.global/en
2. http://wrwcanada.com/en/get-involved/resources/plastics-themed-resources/plastic-facts
3. https://plasticoceans.org/the-facts/
4. https://news.un.org/en/story/2017/02/552052-turn-tide-plastic-urges-un-microplastics-seas-now-outnumber-stars-our-galaxy#.WLA81BLyvBJ
5. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jun/28/a-million-a-minute-worlds-plastic-bottle-binge-as-dangerous-as-climate-change
6. http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/3/7/e1700782
7. http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_The_New_Plastics_Economy.pdf
8. https://www.earthday.org/2018/03/07/fact-sheet-end-plastic-pollution/
9. https://oceanconservancy.org/blog/2017/07/19/8-new-facts-plastic-care/