Clean Oceans ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ clean earth
According to an article, The Trash One Person Creates In One Year, by Carly Hallman, the average American uses 77 POUNDS of plastic bottles & jars every year! Even worse, when you tally the average amount of overall trash we produce, it comes in at a hugely disappointing 4.40 pounds PER DAY (and that statistic comes from the EPA)!
This is not some Halloween gag … these are life altering, scary realities. If each person had only one or two items refilled into existing containers on a regular basis, those horrifying numbers would exponentially decrease as a whole!
Below are some key points I pulled from a report by the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL). Packed with eye-opening and terrifying statistics, you can find the full report here: https://www.ciel.org/plasticandclimate/ and all statistics below are quoted directly from the report. I would highly recommend that you read at least the full Executive Summary.
Plastic Proliferation Threatens the Climate on a Global Scale
Nearly every piece of plastic begins as a fossil fuel, and greenhouse gases are emitted at each … stage of the plastic lifecycle: 1) fossil fuel extraction and transport, 2) plastic refining and manufacture, 3) managing plastic waste, and 4) plastic’s ongoing impact once it reaches our oceans, waterways, and landscape.
Plastic Production Expansion and Emissions Growth Will Exacerbate the Climate Crisis
The plastic and petrochemical industries’ plans to expand plastic production threaten to exacerbate plastic’s climate impacts and could make limiting global temperature rise to 1.5°C impossible. If the production, disposal, and incineration of plastic continue on their present growth trajectory, by 2030, these global emissions could reach 1.34 gigatons per year—equivalent to more than 295 five-hundred-megawatt coal plants. By 2050, plastic production and incineration could emit 2.8 gigatons of CO2 per year, releasing as much emissions as 615 five-hundred-megawatt coal plants.
Plastic in the Environment
Plastic that is unmanaged ends up in the environment, where it continues to have climate impacts as it degrades. Efforts to quantify those emissions are still in the early stages, but a first-of-its-kind study demonstrated that plastic at the ocean’s surface continually releases methane and other greenhouse gases, and that these emissions increase as plastic breaks down further. Current estimates address only the one percent of plastic at the ocean’s surface. Emissions from the 99 percent of plastic that lies below the ocean’s surface cannot yet be estimated with precision. Significantly, this research showed that plastic on the coastlines, riverbanks, and landscapes releases
greenhouse gases at an even higher rate. Microplastic in the oceans may also interfere with the ocean’s
capacity to absorb and sequester carbon dioxide.
US emissions from plastic incineration in 2015 are estimated at 5.9 million metric tons of CO2e. For plastic packaging, which represents 40 percent of plastic demand, global emissions from incineration of this particular type of plastic waste totaled 16 million metric tons of CO2e in 2015. This estimate does not account for 32 percent of plastic packaging waste that is known to remain unmanaged, open burning of plastic, incineration that occurs without any energy recovery, or other practices that are widespread and difficult to quantify.
(As a very conservative estimate,) … in 2019, the production and incineration of plastic … produce(d) more than 850 million metric tons of greenhouse gases—equal to the emissions from 189 five-hundred megawatt coal power plants.
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