The World’s Plastic Problem is More Serious Than We Imagined

School recycling programs can help save the planet

We produce so much plastic waste management has no chance of keeping up.

A recent article in the National Geographic reads like a summer blockbuster suspense thriller. Unfortunately, it’s not fiction, it’s a frightening tale of how the earth is drowning in plastic. To add insult to injury, we can easily deduce that the problem with plastic is far worse than we imagined.

The Earth's Plastic Problem

The plastic problem

National Geographic posted a long, in-depth article about the state of the world’s plastic problem. It’s a frightening, but necessary read. Although recycling is more and more common in every home and business, it is but a drop in the ocean compared to how much plastic is wasted.

How it began

The production of plastic really hit its stride in the 1950s and we were so blinded by the convenience and low cost that we didn’t stop to consider the consequences. It’s a bit like those guys who invented Jurrasic Park, we got so preoccupied with whether or not we could (invent plastic), that we never stopped to think if we should. Now we all need to work together to kill the big plastic T-Rex that’s destroying our planet.

Plastic problem by the numbers

To solve the problem, we need to first understand exactly what we are dealing with. Scientists believe that since the production of plastic began, we have about 9.2 billion tons of plastic to deal with today. Incredibly, 6.9 billion tons of that plastic has become waste. Now, if only that plastic waste had made it to a recycling facility, we may not be having this conversation. Shockingly, of the 6.9 billion tons of wasted plastic, only 8.7% made it to a recycling bin!!

Plastic in the ocean


Plastic in the ocean

So, if the plastic isn’t being recycled, where exactly does it end up? Sadly, much of wasted plastic ends up in the ocean. How much is unknown, but an engineering professor from the University of Georgia estimated that between 5.3 and 14 million tons of plastic end up in the ocean each year. Plastic waste isn’t just unsightly, it’s dangerous and does incredible damage to marine life. In fact, nearly 700 species of marine animals have been affected by plastic pollution.

Solution to the plastic problem

Now for a bit of good news; we know how to solve the plastic waste problem! Proper waste management solutions, including recycling, is the key to a brighter future. While we wait for the industry to come up with a more environmentally safe material to replace or improve plastic, we can all help reduce plastic waste. With just a little effort on our parts, we can reduce the amount of plastic we buy, and recycle the plastic we do buy. We all got ourselves into this mess, and now we all need to work together to get ourselves out.

Sanitation Services in West Virginia and Maryland

It’s up to all of us to reduce plastic waste and be smarter consumers. It is up to Sunrise Sanitation, and other waste management companies, to make sure that once you recycle your plastic, we make sure that the plastic is recycled properly. We provide waste management services to residents, businesses, and job-sites in West Virginia and Maryland. On top of recycling and trash pick-up for our clients, we also have free 24/7365 recycling drop-off centers for anyone to use. By making recycling easier and more available to everyone, we’ll slowly start to reverse the plastic problem.

To sign up for garbage and recycling pick-up services in West Virginia and Maryland, contact Sunrise Sanitation.

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