Did You Know?
- Plastic bags and bottles do not biodegrade and are made from petroleum. The petroleum used for making plastic for the 29 million water bottles Americans use each year requires 17 million barrels of crude oil. This amount is equivalent to the fuel needed to keep 1 million vehicles on the road for a year.
- According to the US EPA, Americans use more than 380 billion plastic bags and wraps each year. It takes 12 million barrels of oil to produce this much plastic.
- Plastic bags and other plastic items in the water resemble jellyfish, so it’s easy to see why sea turtles and other marine animals frequently mistake plastics and other garbage for food. The animals ingest the plastic, which in turn causes blockages in their digestive systems and eventual death.
- According to Ocean Crusaders, 100,000 marine creatures per year die are found to have died from becoming entangled in plastic debris. One million sea birds also die from plastic.
- Recent research indicates that exposure to certain toxins in plastic, called BPA’s (Bisphenols) can be dangerous to human health. These same toxins end up in the water affecting ocean and marine life health.
- The toxins in plastic contaminate the fish that end up on our plates and inside of our bodies.
- San Francisco became the first city in the United States to ban petroleum-based plastic bags in stores.
- Wordwide less than 5% of plastics are recycled.
What can you do?
- Minimize use of plastic bags, bottles, and other containers, as much as possible.
- Recycle plastic you do use.
- Consume water from re-usable and safe water bottles than do not contain BPAs.
- Clean up after yourself following beach visits, disposing of and recycling all plastic.
- Go the extra step of making effort to dispose of any plastic you come across that has been left behind by others. This sets a great example for children. Every piece of plastic counts!
- Participate, organize, or create a beach clean up.
*Thank you to See Turtles for providing many of the facts about plastic in this article.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons