Explosion of Plastic Production

The world produces an exorbitant amount of plastic. As seen in the graph “Global plastics production, 1950 to 2015”, since 1950, plastic production has skyrocketed up to 350 million tons. (1 ton is 2,000 pounds, so that means 700 billion pounds!)


Considering the world population is approaching 8 billion people, why is so much plastic being produced?  Take a look at the graph below.

Another problem that arises from the surplus of plastic production is how it gets disposed. Before 1980, 100% of plastics were thrown away with no regard for recycling or incinerating plastic. Thankfully, humanity has realized the damaging effects and started to recycle plastics, right? Actually, no. “In 2015, an estimated 55 percent of global plastic waste was discarded, 25 percent was incinerated, and 20 percent recycled” (Hannah Ritchie). Over half of the plastic that had been disposed of was still thrown away, even with the widespread knowledge of recycling.  

It is essential to try and reduce the amount of plastic waste that we consume. For suggestions on easily swapping your plastic use, lookout for a list of simple swaps coming out the following week. If everyone made simple swaps, think about how much plastic could be kept from polluting the Earth!

  1. Hannah Ritchie (2018) – “Plastic Pollution”. Published online at OurWorldInData.org. Retrieved from: ‘https://ourworldindata.org/plastic-pollution’ [Online Resource]