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91% of plastic waste is not recycled, out of 6.3 billion tonnes of plastic waste that we produce worldwide, only 9% is recycled. Half of the resins and fibers found in plastics have been produced in the past thirteen years. China alone accounts for 28% of the world's resin and 68% of polyester, polyamide and acrylic fibers.
The United States ranks behind Europe (30% of recycled plastic) and China (25%) in recycling. France shows poor performance in terms of plastic waste recycling with an average rate of around 20%.
dolor et nibh.
Day after day, we eat, drink and breathe plastic.
Every human being consumes some 2000 tiny particles every week without knowing it. Which is about 5 grams - the weight of a credit card or plastic bottle cap.
Because plastic is not biodegradable. Under the influence of natural elements, it disintegrates into ever smaller shards, which end up dispersing everywhere: at sea, on arctic glaciers, in the mountains. The researchers found microplastic in the most remote places. Smaller than 5 millimeters in size, these particles are transported by water in the atmosphere and travel great distances.
As they feed, both oceanic fauna and terrestrial insects and animals swallow tiny, insoluble particles without realizing it. And humans end up eating these animals. In addition, imperceptible grains enter our body through cosmetics, plastic packaging of certain foods or synthetic dishes. Drinking water, mainly from bottles, is thus the greatest source of ingestion of plastic.
In one semester, a human being drinks and eats an average of 125 grams of plastic. Which fills a large dessert bowl. In a year, our body absorbs and feeds a whole plate of microplastic.
Each year, according to Unesco figures, more than 1 million seabirds and more than 100,000 marine mammals die from plastic waste. Cetaceans, fish, reptiles and birds confuse plastics with prey, and stop eating because they feel full. The plastic obstructs the animal's airways, or the accumulated gas affects their ability to move.
It must be said that our oceans are overflowing with plastic: 8 million tonnes of plastic waste ends up in the oceans each year.
Not to mention the micro-plastics on the beaches and the waste in the abyss which has not yet been quantified ...
Most of the 6 trillion cigarettes put into circulation each year are fitted with filters, and half of these end up in the wild due to a lack of effective legislation where it exists and a global awareness of this subject.
However, we know today that the degradation process of a cigarette filter can be very long. Between one and two years, and one of its plastic components, cellulose acetate, takes between ten and eleven years.
By their composition, cigarettes represent a major environmental hazard. Directly submerged in the sea, a cigarette butt containing more than 7000 chemical elements, including heavy metals (cadmium, lead, chromium, mercury), or tar, can pollute up to 500 liters of water.
This toxicity in the marine environment has direct effects: in less than four days, a single butt can destroy up to half of the fauna in a liter of water. The micro-aquatic environment is not the only one affected, since different fish, particularly starved by overfishing, can ingest the cigarette butts, possibly leading to their death, intoxication, or a deceptive feeling of satiety. The non-smoker is not spared from the harmful effects of this pollution linked to the chemicals contained in cigarettes. Indeed, it has been revealed that these cigarette butts are found in the stomachs of fish and on our plates eventually. In France, it is estimated that a thousand cigarette butts are thrown into nature every second. In Paris alone, two billion cigarette butts are collected every year, or 350 tonnes.
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It is the second most produced waste on the planet, after cigarette butts. As they are not biodegradable, they permanently pollute waterways. They also have economic impacts because it is very expensive to clean sidewalks. For the area of Oxford Street in London alone, it costs the city a million pounds a year (around 1.4 million euros). In Toronto, there were 719 million chewing gum crushed on the sidewalks, or about 2,000 tons! The way in which all this plastic deteriorates the quality of the water is therefore not anecdotal.
However, the basis of chewing gum consists of synthetic gum made with petroleum derivatives. In the past, people chewed natural gums made from tree sap. But today any industrial chewing gum is made up of over 100 different chemical ingredients. You should know that most chewing gum is made from petroleum polymers. Like a lot of things after all ... It's a process roughly similar to the production of tire gums. For example Goodyear, the manufacturer of tires, is also the producer of the raw material for the Wrigley brand of chewing gum, to which we owe the "Freedents".
When you swim with sunscreen on your skin, chemicals like oxybenzone seep into the water and then get absorbed by the corals. These substances disrupt the reproduction and growth cycle of corals, thus leading to their bleaching. We would even keep some of these toxins on our skin. Even if you don't bathe after applying sunscreen, it may leak out while you shower. Aerosols often spray large amounts of sunscreen into the sand which is eventually washed into the oceans. Every year, nearly 14,000 tonnes of sunscreen end up in the seas.