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September 5, 2009 @ 10:12 am
Plastics by the Numbers

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My post on plastic bag bans proved popular, so I thought I would follow up with some interesting statistics I came across in the latest Discover Magazine (Credit: Jeremy Jacquot):

  • Plastic Packaging – 63 pounds per person end up in U.S. landfills yearly (plastic represents 16% of all municipal solid waste and 50-80% of litter in beaches, oceans and seabeds
  • Plastic recycling – 6.8% of plastics used in 2007 were recovered for recycling (37% of plastic soda bottles and 28% of plastic milk and water jugs); making products with recycled materials takes 50% less energy than starting from scratch
  • Plastic production – expected to be 300 million metric tons in 2010, half of which will be used for disposable applications (about 25% goes into long-term infrastructure
  • Bisphenol A (BPA) – a 2007 CDC study found 93% of individuals 6 years and older had detectable levels of BPA in their urine; a number of studies have found safety/health issues with this chemical including a National Toxicology Program report that indicated there was “some concern” over the developmental effects of BPA on infants and children
  • Degradation – it takes 450 years for a plastic bottle to completely degrade in a marine environment (at least plastic beverage packaging uses over 50% less energy than glass or metal packaging)

packaging

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