Plastic is versatile, lightweight, flexible, moisture resistant, strong, and relatively inexpensive. Those are the attractive qualities that lead us, around the world, to a voracious appetite and over-consumption of plastic goods.
However, durable and very slow to degrade, plastic materials that are used in the production of so many products all, ultimately, become waste with staying power.
The french journal Le Figaro, has compiled 5 simple numbers, yet powerful enough to illustrate how detrimental and pervasive the single-use-plastic-bag habit is, in France.
- 700 millions:
Is the number of plastic bags handed out each year in supermarkets.
Still, this large number has been on a declining trend for the last 2 decades, thanks to a concerted effort from the distributors to reduce it. In early 2000, 10 billions plastic bags were distributed per year…
- 1 second / 20 minutes / 400 years:
These are the 3 key figures in a single use plastic bag’s life.
It takes only 1 second to produce a single use plastic bag. Its use last about 20 minutes, from the moment it is handed out at the market to the consumer’s home. Then, the single use plastic bag is generally discarded right away. However, this does not mark the end of its life… a very long life, that can last up to 400 years before degradation.
Is the number of plastic bags hourly ending on french beaches, more than 126 millions per year. Plastic bags represent 60 to 80% of all marine debris.
- 100 000:
Is the number of marine animals dying each year from plastic ingestion. Plastic bags are often mistaken for jellyfish, the main source of food for many marine animals.
- 1 million:
Is the number of seabirds dying each year from plastic consumption, here too, mistaken for natural food such as fish eggs or shrimps…
“Cinq chiffres pour se convaincre de la nuisance des sacs plastique,” Le Figaro
Le sac plastique est si pratique que les chiffres sur son utilisation ont de quoi donner le tournis. Les données sur les conséquences néfastes de son utilisation sont encore bien plus spectaculaires…
Plastic Waste Causes $13 Billion In Annual Damage To Marine Ecosystems, UN
Concern is growing over widespread plastic waste that is threatening marine life – with conservative yearly estimates of $13 billion in financial damage to marine ecosystems, according to two reports issued at the inaugural meeting of the United Nations Environment Assembly.
The Plastic Found In a Single Turtle’s Stomach, Independent UK (03-24-2011)
This collection of hundreds of coloured, jagged shards could be a work of abstract art. But the objects in the photograph are the contents of the stomach of a sea turtle, found off the coast of Argentina, that lost its battle with plastic pollution.