What was happening in 1976? Fidel Castro was just elected Cuban president, Steve Jobs had just founded Apple, and Wild Cherry’s Play That Funky Music topped the charts. Also happening in 1976? Someone in Montreal was finishing their Yoplait yogurt and tossing the plastic carton in the trash.
It’s now 41 years later – 2017. Castro and Jobs are both dead, Wild Cherry has been separated nearly four decades, and Apple is a 700 billion dollar company (and you’re probably reading this on your iPhone). But that plastic Yoplait container? It just washed up on a beach in Sarasota, Florida…and looks almost exactly the same.
In fact, it will take this yogurt carton 450 years to degrade. Considering plastic production has increased 620 percent in the last 30 years, we now introduce 300 million tons of plastic into circulation each year, and only 15 percent of plastics are recycled, and you can see we have a problem.
Each year, 8.8 million tons of plastic enter our oceans, but it gets worse: A recent UN study estimates we will produce 33 billion tons of plastic annually by 2050 – nearly 100 times more than we already produce – and the amount of plastic in the ocean is expected to rise accordingly. Plastics in the ocean entangle and strangle animals as well as get lodged in their digestive system and choke out sea floor life. Plastic pollution currently threatens 817 species of marine and wildlife. That’s a huge problem!
While policy makers and scientists look at ways to help us cut down on plastic use, there are also simple steps we can make in our daily lives. Take a tote bag to the grocery store instead of using plastic bags there, and carry your water bottle with you rather than purchasing disposable bottles. For more tips on reducing plastic waste, join the Crush Plastic campaign or click for more information here.
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