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Plastic Pollution Facts

Pollution from plastic is destroying our planet and our bodies.

We pulled together some astonishing plastic pollution facts from EcoWatch. Use this list to help you learn more and teach others about the devastating impact of everyday plastics. Remember to recycle, reuse, and (most importantly) reduce our plastic use!

Over the last ten years we have produced more plastic than during the whole of the last century.

In the Los Angeles area alone, 10 metric tons of plastic fragments like grocery bags, straws and soda bottles are carried into the Pacific ocean every day.

plastic pollution facts

Virtually every piece of plastic that was ever made still exists in some shape or form (with the exception of the small amount that has been incinerated).

Plastic accounts for around 10% of the total waste we generate.


The average American throws away approximately 185 pounds of plastic per year.

50% of the plastic we use, we use only once and throw away.

Plastic chemicals can be absorbed by the body.
93 percent of Americans age six or older test positive for BPA (a plastic chemical).


Some of these compounds found in plastic have been found to alter hormones or have other potential human health effects.

Plastic in the ocean breaks down into such small segments that pieces of plastic from a one liter bottle could end up on every mile of beach throughout the world.

Billions of pounds of plastic can be found in swirling convergences in the oceans making up about 40 percent of the world’s ocean surfaces. 80 percent of pollution enters the ocean from the land.


The production of plastic uses around eight percent of the world’s oil production.

We currently recover only 5% of the plastics we produce.

Plastic constitutes approximately 90 percent of all trash floating on the ocean’s surface, with 46,000 pieces of plastic per square mile.


44 percent of all seabird species, 22 percent of cetaceans, all sea turtle species and a growing list of fish species have been documented with plastic in or around their bodies.

plastic pollution kills sea birds and other mammals

One million sea birds and 100,000 marine mammals are killed annually from plastic in our oceans.

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is located in the North Pacific Gyre off the coast of California and is the largest ocean garbage site in the world. This floating mass of plastic is twice the size of Texas, with plastic pieces outnumbering sea life six to one.

Help Us Make An Impact

We’re sharing these plastic pollution facts because we’re serious about making a difference! We started offering handmade reusable glass straws to help reduce the overall disposable straws in the environment. You can also take more action by joining the plastic coalition below and sharing this page!


It creates toxic pollution at every stage of its existence: manufacture, use, and disposal. Plastic is a material that the Earth cannot digest. Therefore, every bit of plastic that has ever been created still exists, including the small amount that has been incinerated and has become toxic particulate matter.

Plastic poisons our food chain. In the environment, plastic breaks down into small particles that attract toxic chemicals. These particles are ingested by wildlife on land and in the ocean, thus contaminating the food chain and our very own bodies! Harmful chemicals leached by plastics are present in the bloodstream and tissues of almost every one of us, including newborns.

Plastic recycling is not a sustainable solution to the crisis. Most of our plastic waste is land-filled, downcycled, incinerated or exported to other countries. Recycling of plastic is costly and does not stem the production of virgin plastic product.

Get the latest updates on legislation against plastic pollution:

Learn more about how we can reduce plastic pollution:

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