We cannot deny the fact that the world is dealing with a plastic crisis. We depend on plastics for packaging, grocery bags, disposable utensils, bottles, and straws. Furthermore, they are even used as components for electronic devices, appliances, and automotive parts. Thus, plastics are really everywhere.
In a global perspective, we generate millions of plastic waste on a scale you cannot even imagine. They are contributors to global warming as their decomposition emits methane and ethylene when exposed to sunlight. These harmful greenhouse gases are the reason for the continuous increase in global temperature.
To appreciate and understand how plastic affects the environment, here are some statistics on plastic disposal and global warming:
Relationship of Plastic Waste Generation and Global Warming
Before presenting facts and figures, it is essential to understand the connection between plastic waste and global warming.
As mentioned earlier, plastics emit methane and ethylene gases during their decaying process. So, if people continue to throw their plastic waste in landfills, we can expect the worsening effects of global warming in the succeeding years.
Plastic production alone contributes 4-8% of annual oil consumption, and experts expect it to grow at 20% in the year 2050. On average, we use plastic bags for only 12 minutes and throw them away, which can take at least 500 years to decay.
So can you imagine the plastic crisis now? From their production up to its disposal, plastics become problematic when we don’t recycle or avoid them as much as possible.
Plastics are a global issue. Today, more countries are banning single-use plastics, especially shopping bags and straws.
However, we are still far from over. So, let’s take a look at the global statistics of plastic disposal:
- Globally, we consume 500 billion plastic bags yearly, equivalent to nearly one million bags per minute.
- About 8 million tonnes of plastic go into oceans yearly – that is equal to dumping rubbish from a pickup truck every minute.
- More than a million seabirds and 100,000 marine animals die each year due to plastic litter in the oceans.
- About 91% of global plastic waste is not recycled.
- China has the highest share of mismanaged plastic waste, which is 28%. Followed by Indonesia (10%), and Philippines and Vietnam (both 6%).
Australia’s Plastic Waste Facts and Figures
According to a study of Verisk Maplecroft in 2019, Australia belongs to countries that have the highest levels of waste generation. And like any other country, we are experiencing plastic waste issues. Here are the facts and figure with regard to Australia’s plastics based on the National Waste Report of 2018:
- About 2.5 million tonnes or 103kg per capita of plastic waste was generated in 2016-2017.
- Only 12% are recycled, 87% sent to landfills, and 1% went to energy waste facilities.
- Australians used 5.66 billion single-use plastic bags.
- Since China banned rubbish importation, plastic waste exports fell by 78%.
- Plastics had the lowest recovery rate from the core wastes, about 13%.
Reduce Plastic Waste Now to Minimise the Effects of Global Warming
With the global and national statistics presented above, we must reduce plastic waste generation. But how can we do that? You can follow these simple steps:
- Instead of single-use plastics, maximise eco-bags, metal straws, tumblers, and wooden cups.
- If possible, practice bulk buying to reduce plastic packaging.
- Glass containers are better than plastics in terms of waste avoidance and health.
- Cook at home or dine-in in restaurants to minimise plastic packaging take-out.
- Promote recycling not only for plastics but for other materials as well.
- Put plastic waste in its designated bin.
Always remember that through the collective action of managing plastic waste, we can help minimise the effects of global warming.
There is a connection between plastic disposal and global warming. By proper management and plastic waste avoidance, we can lessen the effects of the continuous temperature rise. We are still far from the right path based on the statistics presented. So, we should do everything in our power to minimise our use of plastics and promote eco-friendly solutions.
Here at Aussie Junk, we understand how plastics can negatively impact our environment. So, we have developed systematic and eco-friendly services to reduce plastic waste sent to landfills. We have partnered with several recycling centres that can transform rubbish into something valuable.
No matter where you are in Sydney, our professional and top-rate removalists are always ready to respond to your rubbish needs. Geared with the right equipment and tools, we’ll be at your doorstep as soon as possible.