Did you know only 9% of plastics get recycled?
According to many published resources, including National Geographic, 91% of plastics do NOT get recycled worldwide. Most of the plastic we place into our bins may or may not be recycled depending on where you live. It's astonishing and disappointing.
Since its creation in the 1950's, 8.3 billion metric tonnes of cumulative plastics have been produced - of which 6.3 billion metric tonnes have become plastic waste. It takes over 400 years for plastic to degrade. Depending on the type of plastic, it could take as long as 1,000 years.
We see plastic in our oceans and landfills...quite frankly it's everywhere. By mid century, it has been written (The Guardian) that there will be as much plastic in our oceans as there are fish. It's mind boggling to think of this disaster. 8 million metric tonnes of plastics end up in our oceans EVERY YEAR.
If we continue at this rate, National Geographic's research estimates there will be 12 billion metric tonnes of plastics in our landfills. I couldn't fathom this weight so I set out to Google what that would look like....I couldn't find it. Suffice to say that a baby humpback whale weighs 1 tonne.
Municipal waste accounts for approximately 10% of total waste produced worldwide.
The other waste comes from industrial, agricultural, medical, radioactive waste or sewage sludge.
According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Turkey and Chile are the worst countries at recycling - only 1%!
According to Global Citizen - "Germany, leads the pack with a 65% recycling rate. The country has gone to considerable lengths to standardize recycling containers throughout the entire country with color-coded containers that people adhere to. Germans enjoy recycling and the sense of civic virtue it bestows. A culture of environmental sustainability reigns in that country."
"Countries making the most improvement are Poland and Estonia. Poland is now recycling an astounding 886% more of its waste than it was at the start of millennium. Estonia has increased its recycling by 600% in the same period."
"Ireland has increased by 261%, and the UK by 250%. South Korea, Austria, Belgium, Slovenia, Sweden, and Switzerland have overall recycling rates above 50%. The US has an overall recycling rate of 35% and the average throughout the OECD is 34%."
A few more stats
(According to Blue Ocean, The Guardian, UNEP, National Geographic)
*Sweden throws only 1% of it's garbage in landfills