14 ways plastic is harming us and the environment

According to GreenPeace, we’ve produced 8.3 billion metric tons of plastics since the 1950s. Of that staggering total, just 9% was recycled. The remaining 79% has ended up in landfills or the natural environment, including our oceans.

And the problem is set to get worse. About half of all plastics produced between 1950-2015 were made since 2002. If this kind of trajectory continues, 12 billion tons of plastic waste will be in landfills or the natural environment by 2050.

Shocking statistics

The United Nations Ocean Conference estimated there will be more plastic in the oceans than fish by 2050.

Don’t just let that statistic wash over you as you look for the next hit. Stop and think about that for a moment; breathe it in, try to imagine it, feel it. Think about the world your children and grandchildren will inherit from us if we let it happen.


How about…

Along with there being more plastic in the oceans than fish, it is believed that by 2050, 99 per cent of all the seabirds on the planet will have consumed plastic in some form.


Here’s a dead albatross

Recognise anything that was found in its stomach?

There are certainly things I use in there – lighters, bottle caps and a toothbrush. What about you?


And here’s Sir David Attenborough:

The oceans are full of it

Some estimates say the sea now contains 51 trillion microplastic particles – 500 times more than stars in our galaxy.


Here’s a turtle

Munching on an carrier bag for lunch. He’s mistaken the bag for a jelly fish. GreenPeace tell us that plastic is so prevalent in our magnificent oceans that 1 in 3 turtles have now eaten some.


Here’s why you should say no to plastic, disposable straws

Not for the faint hearted or squeamish:

Did you hear the one about the whale?

In 2016, thirteen sperm whales beached themselves.

Researchers found that four of the giant marine animals had large amounts of plastic waste in their stomachs; including over 40 feet of  fishing net, a plastic car engine cover, and the remains of a plastic bucket.


It’s a mad world

Oil takes million of years to form, we drill it out of the ground, turn into plastic, much of which is used ONCE before ending up in landfill, where it then sits for several hundred years.



The Wildlife Trusts estimate that 177 species of reptiles, mammals and fish are at risk as a result of consuming plastic litter at sea.


Plastic – the most hazardous material littering our seas

Plastic, our much-loved convenience product, causes death and injury to hundreds of thousands of seabirds and marine species every year through swallowing and entanglement.


Would you like plastic for dinner?

Many plastics do not completely disappear; they simply break into tinier and tinier pieces. 

When this happens in the sea, the floating plastic debris can absorb pollutants such as PCBs, DDT and PAHs. These small fragments of plastic then get eaten by fish who mistake the plastic as a food source. Some of these fish are then eaten by you and you end up ingesting these toxic chemicals.


Not in my back yard

It’s not just affecting the people who pollute: the beaches of one of the world’s most remote islands have been found to be polluted with the highest density of plastic debris reported anywhere on the planet.

Talking of islands

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a soup of plastic waste, floating like an ‘island’ between Hawaii and California. It is estimated to span 1,351,000 sq miles and be and growing so fast it’s becoming visible from space. And that’s just one, there are four more gyres on the planet.

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Rachelle Strauss


  1. Jan Holttum on March 12, 2018 at 11:49 pm

    Oh my God, I’m in tears

    • Rachelle Strauss on March 13, 2018 at 10:56 am

      Awww, sorry you’re in tears. But sometimes it’s these tears that lead us to take positive action, so I hope it has some ‘action orientated’ response for you too!

  2. Holly Bush on April 15, 2018 at 5:01 am

    I’m so glad I found your blog. I just read about 5 articles Haha. Single use plastic is by far my most hated item! It makes me so so angry! That quote from David Attenborough is right – we KNOW there’s a problem and we KNOW what to do to fix it – but we don’t! More awareness needed I think. You’re doing a good thing 😍 hopefully you have instagram – I’m going to stalk you haha

    I’ve put my website below – but it’s not live yet haha – still to nervous to post. One day.

    • Rachelle Strauss on April 23, 2018 at 3:40 pm

      Hi Holly, thanks for stopping by and taking time to leave a comment. Please start your blog, once you’ve written that first post there will be no stopping you! See you in Instagram. I’m @myzerowaste

  3. Sandra Sosic on March 4, 2019 at 3:22 am

    Thanks for writing this article! Sad and tragic, but we must face our current reality. I knew most of the facts and figures you mentioned already because I’m working on a similar article; except for the one about there being more micro plastics in the ocean than stars in our galaxy. Heartbreaking that we can create such a significant amount in such a short amount of time.
    Thanks again for spreading awareness on this issue, I look forward to seeing more from your site.

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