This is a good time to reflect on the state of the Earth. One huge problem is the amount of plastic garbage being generated every year, including single use plastic bags. This has led to the problem of plastics and tiny plastic particles (from plastics degrading) now found everywhere in the environment - including the air, water, our food, and in us. Microplastics are even in our lungs and blood!
Some facts to consider:
- Americans use 100 billion plastic bags a year, which require 12 million barrels of oil to manufacture.3
- Americans use an average of 365 plastic bags per person per year. People in Denmark use an average of four plastic bags per year.4
- It only takes about 14 plastic bags for the equivalent of the gas required to drive one mile. [Full list from Center for Biological Diversity]
It turns out that just twenty companies are the source of more than 50% of single use plastic items (bottles, bags, food packages) that are thrown away. Globally. Number 1 is ExxonMobil, and Dow is number 3. The full list of companies is published by the Plastic Waste Makers Index.
The list is of the top 100 companies in the plastic supply chain. They manufacture polymers - known as the building block of plastics. These 100 companies are responsible for over 90% of single-use plastics generated globally. Single-use plastics are made almost exclusively from fossil fuels (coal, oil, and natural gas).
The future: More states are passing single-use plastic bag bans, which apply to grocery stores (e.g., California, NY, NJ). Expect to see this policy spread to other states. Expect bans to eventually occur globally.
From CNBC.com, originally published May, 2021: Just 20 companies are responsible for over half of ‘throwaway’ plastic waste, study says