Plastic Bottles Could Rival Threat of Climate Change

Report finds world buys 1M plastic bottles every minute
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 30, 2017 6:48 PM CDT
World Buys 1M Plastic Bottles Every Minute: Report
Children rest on plastic bottles while playing during Earth Day in Allahabad, India, Saturday, April 22, 2017.   (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)

Approximately 1 million plastic bottles are purchased every minute worldwide—and that number is expected to increase by 20% in the next four years, according to an exclusive report from the Guardian. It gets worse. Less than half of the 580 billion plastic bottles purchased in 2016 were recycled and only 7% were turned into new bottles. The majority ended up in oceans or landfills. Research indicates the oceans will contain more pounds of plastic than pounds of fish by 2050. And environmentalists are beginning to warn that plastic bottles could present as great a threat to the environment as climate change. “[Plastic] pollutes every natural system and an increasing number of organisms on planet Earth," a member of Surfers Against Sewage says.

Most plastic bottles are used for drinking water. Coca-Cola alone makes more than 100 billion plastic bottles per year, or about 3,400 per second, according to a Greenpeace analysis. Environmentalists want companies like Coca-Cola to use more recycled plastic in their bottles; the top three drink companies average just 6.6% of recycled plastic per bottle. They complain that recycled plastic doesn't allow them to have shiny, clear bottles and that the supply of quality recycled plastic isn't large enough. By the end of the decade, more than half a trillion plastic bottles will be sold every year. Something will have to change for the recycling system to keep up. Read the full story here. (Read more plastic stories.)

We use cookies. By Clicking "OK" or any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Read more in our privacy policy.
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.