Plastic in the Ocean May Outweigh Fish by 2050
Here are six ways to reduce your plastic waste output
The ocean’s fish may get some unwanted roommates by 2050 — the world’s plastic waste.
According to a new report by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and the World Economic Forum, plastic waste is currently on pace to outweigh all the fish in the sea in about 34 years.
“Each year, at least 8 million tonnes of plastics leak into the ocean — which is equivalent to dumping the contents of one garbage truck into the ocean every minute,” says The New Plastics Economy report, which was unveiled at the World Economic Forum in Davos. “If no action is taken, this is expected to increase to two per minute by 2030 and four per minute by 2050.”
The ocean is already full of plastic. “The best research currently available estimates that there are over 150 million tonnes of plastics in the ocean today.”
Packaging represents 26 percent of the total volume of plastics used, and only 14 percent of that packaging is collected for recycling, notes the report. A significant portion of plastic material ends up in landfills and oceans.
The 36-page report offers possible solutions. Among them:
- Creating plastics that can be both recycled and composted.
- Developing "bio-benign" plastic packaging that would reduce the negative impacts on natural systems when leaked.
- Manufacturing plastics in such a way that they can be re-used, increasing the value of after-use packaging.
- Improve recycling and storage options in large countries to reduce leakage into the world’s oceans.
Ready to reduce your plastic output? Here are six ways you can start.
Skip the plastic wrap. Most plastic wrap can’t be recycled because it’s contaminated by food, according to the EPA.
Use reusable bags. Many recycling centers don’t accept plastic grocery bags because they get stuck in the machinery. Just make sure to wash your reusable bag often to eliminate any bacteria that may linger.
Wash your plastic recyclables. Wash that plastic peanut butter jar or soda bottle before throwing it in your bin. Trash workers may send it to the landfill if they are not clean.
Know which plastics you can recycle. Knowing which plastic materials can go in the bin can save your recycling center time and money.
Use a reusable water bottle. Just make sure you wash it properly to keep it germ free.
Skip the Styrofoam. If it comes in a Styrofoam cup or box, don’t buy it.
Related: The End of Styrofoam?
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