If you're striving to have a greener homer, it's easy to imagine that everyone else in the world is doing the same, that we're all looking out for the good of the environment. Sadly, that's not the case. Even though many people are trying to cut back on their use of plastics and to recycle more, plastic production is still at an all-time high and scientists are warning that something has to change for the sake of the planet.
image source: http://www.plasticsouplab.org
A study recently published by the Ellen Mac Arthur Foundation and the World Economic Forum revealed that plastic production has increased astronomically over the last 5 decades. In 1964, only 15 million tons of plastics were produced worldwide. Jump ahead to 2014, and 311 million tons of plastic rolled out of factories.
The study didn't just examine the massive explosion of the plastics industry. It also made some bleak predictions about the future. The researchers posit that within the next 20 years, the current rate of manufacturing will have doubled. By 2050, the scientists worry that 15 percent of the global annual carbon budget will come from plastics manufacturing and that plastic production will account for 20 percent of the world's use of oil.
During its discussion of the current global state of plastics, the report found that 8 million tons of plastic end up in oceans every year. If things continue at this rate, by 2050 the amount of plastic in the ocean will weigh more than the total weight of all of the fish in the ocean!
What might be equally distressing is that only about 14 percent of plastic packaging ever gets recycled and that overall recycling rates for plastic are even lower.
So what can we do?
First, we all need to continue to take steps to use less plastic, which you can do in your own home with cleaning products, tableware and personal care items from Paperless Kitchen. When you can't replace plastic, look for products made from recycled plastic, and do your part to recycle the plastic items that you use during the day.
Next, we all need to make an effort to let others know about the plastic situation. You could start by sharing this blog post on social media!