Shocking Stats About the World's Plastic Consumption

Shocking Stats About the World's Plastic Consumption

August 06, 2018

Plastic is everywhere. From your toothbrush and computer to your cutlery and water bottle, we use so much plastic every day that it just seems like a natural part of life. Unfortunately, that makes it easy to become insensitive to the damage it is doing to our environment. 

Here are some facts about the world's plastic use that may make you think twice the next time you choose a plastic bag or container over a reusable bag or tote.

As of 2016, the world's plastic production totaled around 335 million metric tons. Of that number, about half were one-time use plastic containers that could not be recycled.

  • There are 1 million plastic bottles purchased every single minute. It is impossible for all of those bottles to end up in a recycling bin, so, unfortunately, our oceans and other waterways become polluted with these bottles which then don't decompose for hundreds of years.


  • The EPA reports that only 2% of all plastic bags are recycled in the United States. This relates to about 307 bags a person, per year in America alone -- however, in the world, our plastic bag usage is estimated to be about 4 trillion annually!


  • At the exact moment you are reading this article, 4 million plastic straws are being used.


  • Plastic isn't harmless. Once plastic products are sent to the landfill, they can leak harmful toxins and chemicals into the soil and groundwater supply. Unfortunately, this can end up in our drinking water without us noticing.


  • Americans throw out 25 billion Styrofoam cups every single year, and what's worse is that this is a material which is unable to be recycled completely. To give perspective, Styrofoam that is thrown away this year will still be partially intact 500 years from now.

While these plastic facts are astonishing, there are plenty of things someone can do to cut down on their plastic use and make Mother Nature smile. Here at Holden bags, we encourage all of our customers to invest in reusable everything; reusable bags, stainless steel bottles, wine totes, beeswax food wrapping, and paper straws that can easily be recyclable. The world would be a better place if we all took a few more diligent steps in recycling, and we encourage you to grab a reusable grocery bag and start today!