Hands up who’s ever heard of a kilotonne? No? Neither had we. But, yes, using the powers of deduction, we worked out that it’s 1.000 tonnes – or 1 million kilograms. And when we say “one” of anything, it doesn’t sound so bad, right? Maybe that’s why the Kt is the favourite unit of measurement for the plastics industry, after all, 8.000 kilotonnes doesn’t sound like much.
Until you find out that is the amount of plastic that ends up in our oceans each year – mostly from single-use packaging.
And that’s why 10 trillion is a very conservative estimate of the number of pieces of single-use packaging manufactured and discarded every single year. Most are used for no more than a couple of minutes and roughly half of annual plastic production is destined for single-use products. 80 million tonnes of the stuff will end up in our waterways and oceans.
Numbers so large they defy pronunciation, to mention nothing of the logic that goes out the window when you think about it too hard. Let’s break down those figures for future reference:
- 500.000.000.000 single-use Cups.
- 525.600.000.000 plastic bottles (one million a minute)
- 500.000.000.000 plastic bags in the US alone.
- 2.000.000.000.000 pieces of supermarket food packaging
OK, so enough! We are where we are.
The sobering thing about all of this is that this problem is not going away by itself. The half-a-trillion dollar plastics industry has a lot of riding on this addiction – and is planning to keep on growing. Need receipts? Go here and find out more about the plans for our plastic future. Recycling is not the answer.
Replace new habits with old. #choosetoreuse