How Many Plastic Bags Are Used a Year | How Many Are There

Yet an estimated 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags are used worldwide every year.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, more than 380 billion plastic bags are used in the United States every year. Of those, approximately 100 billion are plastic shopping bags, which cost retailers about $4 billion annually.

Plastic Bag Facts

  • Approx. 380 billion plastic bags are used in the United States every year. That’s more than 1,200 bags per US resident, per year.
  • Approx. 100 billion of the 380 billion are plastic shopping bags.
  • An estimated 12 million barrels of oil is required to make that many plastic bags.
  • Only 1 to 2% of plastic bags in the USA end up getting recycled.
  • Thousands of marine animals and more than 1 million birds die each year as a result of plastic pollution.
  • The United Nations Environment Programme estimates that there are 46,000 pieces of plastic litter floating in every square mile of ocean.
  • Plastic bags are often mistakenly ingested by animals, clogging their intestines which results in death by starvation. Other animals or birds become entangled in plastic bags and drown or can’t fly as a result.
  • Even when they photo-degrade in landfill, the plastic from single-use bags never goes away, and toxic particles can enter the food chain when they are ingested by unsuspecting animals.
  • Greenpeace says that at least 267 marine species are known to have suffered from getting entangled in or ingesting marine debris. Nearly 90% of that debris is plastic.
  • Americans consume more than 10 billion paper bags per year. Approximately 14 million trees are cut down every year for paper bag production.
  • Most of the pulp used for paper shopping bags is virgin pulp, as it is considered stronger.
  • Paper production requires hundreds of thousands of gallons of water as well

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Source: How Many Plastic Bags Are Used a Year | How Many Are There

‘Plastic soup’: Invisible pollutants from everyday objects contaminating oceans, study says

A trip to the seaside can provide beautiful vistas and a relaxing escape, but the seemingly pristine waters of the world’s oceans are hiding invisible pollution from everyday products including clothing and tires, according to a new study.

The research, released by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) on Tuesday, examined the effect of primary microplastics on the world’s oceans.

Primary microplastics are plastics that enter bodies of water in the form of small particles, as opposed to larger plastic waste which is easily visible to the naked eye.

Read more

30 plastic bags, 1 dead whale: Shocking toll of vast ocean pollution laid bare

Sources of the invisible pollution include car tires, synthetic textiles, marine coatings, road markings, personal care products, plastic pellets and city dust, according to the study.

Although such pollution isn’t easily seen, the report states that between 15 and 31 percent of the estimated 9.5 million tons of plastic released into the oceans each year could be primary microplastics, making them a large contributor to the ‘plastic soup’ clogging oceans.

Almost two-thirds come from the washing of synthetic textiles and the abrasion of car tires while driving, according to the study.

The report noted that in developed countries which practice effective waste management, primary microplastics are a larger source of marine plastic pollution than plastic waste.

Tires were found to be the number one culprit of the pollution in the Americas, Europe and Central Asia, while synthetic textiles were the main source in Asia.

The situation is particularly worrisome in the Arctic, the biggest source of seafood for Europe and North America.

“It seems the microplastic is freezing into the sea ice, and since you actually lower the melting point of ice when you have small particles in it, you have a quicker disappearance of sea ice,” Karl Gustaf Lundin, who heads IUCN’s Global Marine and Polar Program, told AFP.

He pointed out that when the ice melts, it releases plankton that attracts fish, allowing the plastic particles to “go straight into our food chain.”

Read more

10,000 metric tons of plastic debris enter Great Lakes every year – study

Lundin said that although few studies have been done on the impact of tiny plastic particles on human health, “we have to assume that there probably will be considerable impact” because they are small enough to move through human membranes.

IUCN director General Inger Andersen called the report a “real eye-opener, showing that plastic waste is not all there is to ocean plastics.”

She went on to note that daily activities “significantly contribute to the pollution choking our oceans,” stating that they have “potentially disastrous effects on the rich diversity of life within them, and on human health.”

Anderson said the report shows that humans must look beyond waste management in order to fully address ocean pollution, and called on private sector leadership to undertake the necessary research and development.

Marine project manager for IUCN’s Global Marine Program Joao de Sousa said the findings have “important implications for the global strategy to tackle ocean plastic pollution, which currently focuses on reducing plastic waste.”

He went on to state that solutions must include product and infrastructure design, along with consumer behavior.

“Synthetic clothes could be designed to shed fewer fibers, for example, and consumers can act by choosing natural fabrics over synthetic ones,” de Sousa said.

Lundin also stated that tire makers could revert to using mainly rubber, while textile manufacturers could stop using plastic coatings on clothes. He also suggested that washing machine makers could install filters to catch micro and nano plastic particles.


30 plastic bags, 1 dead whale: Shocking toll of vast ocean pollution laid bare

Researchers have discovered more than 30 plastic bags inside the stomach of a dead whale, which likely blocked its intestines and led to it becoming stranded several times in shallow waters off the coast of Norway.

The scientists described the mass of human-produced refuge lodged in the whale’s stomach as “not surprising” given the amount of plastic littering the Earth’s waters.

The emaciated Cuvier’s goose-beaked whale had been in pain due to its intestinal blockage, according to scientists from the University of Bergen, who had to put it down after it continually became stranded.

The waste discovered included plastic bags and packaging from the UK and Denmark.

“The findings are not surprising,” said Zoologist Dr Lislevand Lislevand. “But clearly it is sad to discover such large quantities.”

"I'm afraid to estimate how long it could have taken before the stomach was totally full," he added.

It is common for plastic waste to be found in the bodies of dead sea creatures. The World Economic Forum estimates that by 2050 there will be more plastic in the sea than fish.

30 plastic bags, 1 dead whale: Shocking toll of vast ocean pollution laid bare — RT Viral.

Source: 30 plastic bags, 1 dead whale: Shocking toll of vast ocean pollution laid bare — RT Viral