The plastics issue has been gaining ground lately, there have been a number of documentaries detailing the plastic soup running hundred of miles swirling around the Pacific Ocean. One of the most interesting facts that I learned recently: PLASTIC NEVER DIES, every piece of polyethylene plastic manaufactured since the 1930's when it was first made is still around!! So these statistics:
- Number of plastic bags used worldwide each year: 4,000,000,000,000 to 5,000,000,000,000.
- Amount of oil used annually to produce plastic bags: 17,200,000,000 to 21,500,000,000 gallons.
- Number of plastic bags used by Americans each year: 110,000,000,000.
- Amount of plastic bags recycled in the United States in 2006: 2%.
- Amount of plastic used worldwide every year just to bottle water: 1,500,000 to 2,700,000 tons.
- Number of plastic water bottles sold in the United States in 1997: 4,000,000,000
- Nearly eight out of every 10 bottles will end up in a landfill.
So what to do. Using reusable grocery bags is the easiest way to start and I was stoked to see MR. Special, a grocery store in Aguada selling these bags for $.99 Maybe we will see some changes that already afoot in the states come to the island. I ran across a great website that uses guerilla tactics to raise awareness of the problem of single-use plastic bottles and containers, http://guardiansofthepacific.org/. They have downloadable stickers that they urge you to glue onto vending machines and anywhere plastic bottles are sold. A great way for kids to stick it to the man and stick up for a great cause.
With the bottled water boom kicking into high gear 10 years ago, plastic usage has surged and these ubiquitous bottles have not only contibuted more than their share to the pollution of the oceans, but manufacturing these bottles also creates problems:
- Producing the bottles for American consumption required the equivalent of more than 17 million barrels of oil, not including the energy for transportation
- Bottling water produced more than 2.5 million tons of carbon dioxide
- It took 3 liters of water to produce 1 liter of bottled water