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Impact of plastic waste

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More Than 8 million Tonnes of Plastic Enter the Oceans Every Year


When plastic production started in the 1950s, only a small amount of plastic was produced which meant plastic waste was relatively manageable. Nowadays, however, we generate approximately 300 million tonnes of plastic waste each year, 60% of which ends up in our natural environment or landfills.


Plastic pollution is currently one of the biggest problems affecting the marine environment with an estimated 8 million tonnes of plastic entering the ocean annually. Roughly 40% of the ocean’s surface is now covered in plastic debris and if our plastic consumption continues, it is estimated that by 2050, there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean.

​Globally, only about 9% of all the plastic ever produced has been recycled.  Around 12% of it has been incinerated and because it takes so long for plastic to break down, the rest still exists in our environment somewhere in some form, whether this is in landfill or as litter on land and in waters.  That's a staggering amount of plastic waste polluting our world.

​Plastic never goes away.  Over the hundreds (or sometimes thousands) of years it will take for these plastic items to break down, they will never return to the oils they were made from. Instead they’ll just get smaller and smaller until they become microplastics; tiny fibres and particles which float in the air we breathe and make their way into soils and waterways and so into the food chain where ultimately we are all consuming them at a rate of about 5g a week- enough plastic to make a credit card!



​We need to reduce the plastic that we use.  The less we buy, the less demand there is for production. 

We need to reuse the plastic that already exists. 

And since plastic can only be recycled a couple of times before its quality decreases beyond practical use, and not all “recycling” really gets recycled, this should be the last resort.

So why not try some plastic-free swaps today and reuse your bathroom and cleaning bottles with refills from The Bottle Swap!

About plastic waste: About Us
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