The 3 Most Important Plastic Pollution Facts You Need to Know

The Plastic Pollution Facts You Need to Know

There’s a lot of information out there about plastic pollution. It can be overwhelming and sometimes even discouraging to filter through all the articles, studies, and research about plastic pollution. While plastic pollution is definitely an issue that you need to pay attention to, you don’t need to stress yourself out with every piece of information that crosses your news feed. We’ve put together the main plastic pollution facts that you need to know to stay educated so that we can continue to work toward reducing plastic waste. 

What is plastic pollution, and why should we care? 

Plastic pollution refers to the plastic waste in landfills, water, nature, and just about every place you can think of. This can range from the larger plastic waste you see on the side of the road or on the beach when you’re on vacation to the tiny microplastics that we can’t see. When plastic isn’t being properly recycled or disposed of, it makes its way into the ground, our food and water, and eventually our bodies. Microplastics have been found in human digestive systems, feces, lungs, and even in our blood. 

Plastic Pollution Fact You Need to Know #1: Less than ⅕ of all plastic is recycled globally.

The United States only recycles about 9% of our plastic and is one of the highest contributors to plastic usage. This means that more plastics than necessary are ending up in the garbage and polluting our environment and water systems. Plastic can take 20-500 years to decompose and leave behind even more microplastics that can potentially be even more problematic. 

(Source: Fast facts about plastic pollution, National Geographic)

Plastic Pollution Fact You Need to Know #2: 40% of plastic is made for single-use packaging.

This plastic comes from online shopping, grocery items, new electronics, etc. The production of these plastics accounts for 161,000,000  tons of plastic and cannot be recycled, which means that they go straight into landfills and end up in oceans. These plastics also end up breaking down into smaller microplastics that have the potential to make their way back into our water and food systems.

(Source: Fast facts about plastic pollution, National Geographic)

Plastic Pollution Fact You Need to Know #3: It is estimated that the U.S. is dumping more than 64,000 pounds of microfiber into natural water sources every day. 

Microfibers are microplastics measuring less than 5mm in diameter. Every time we do a load of laundry, between 136,000 to 1,000,000 microfibers from synthetic fabrics are released into the environment. After these microfibers are released, they often attach themselves to the food of animals who inadvertently ingest them. Eventually, these minuscule microfibers make their way up the food chain to humans. Microfibers also make their way back into our drinking water because they are too small to filter out. 

(Sources: Is my washing to blame for the plastic problem?, BBC News, What You Should Know About Microfiber Pollution, Environmental Protection Agency)

Plastic pollution is a global issue, and only a global solution will be the remedy. We have a shared mission, and it will take efforts from individuals, small businesses, corporations, and environmental agencies to reduce the amount of plastic pollution and create a cleaner, healthier world. You can take one step toward a better tomorrow today by reducing 89% of the microfibers water pollution from your laundry with the Filtrol