Plastics are used in nearly everything, including food containers, protective clothing, and computers. Plastics are inexpensive and can be used as a substitute for wood, which reduces the need to cut down trees. They also consume less than 4% of the world's oil production compared with metals, glass, and paper.
Plastics are clearly beneficial and can make our lives easier. They also have the potential to protect the environment. Why have plastics become such a problem worldwide? Why do we need to do plastic recycling?
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We are constantly reminded to reduce the use of plastics, as they have harmful effects on the environment, animals, and people. Our planet is at grave risk from plastic pollution. It causes death in wildlife and accumulates in landfills and oceans.
Plastics are lightweight materials, but they are not biodegradable. They last a lot longer than other types of trash and some could take up to a thousand years for them to break down. Plastic wastes most often come from abandoned or dumped homes. This plastic waste is carried by winds, pushed by heavy rains, and floods, and deposited into rivers, streams, and oceans.
About 80% of marine litter is made up of waste from land. This can lead to the death of marine animals, either by accidentally trapping them or ingesting them. Plastic traps can also be used to trap birds and other land animals who mistake plastics for food. You've probably seen images of wildlife trapped in nets, ropes, and plastic bottles. The most common scenes include sea turtles caught on fishing nets, seals being suffocated by cellophane in the heads, and birds having a plastic cap in the beak that makes them unable to eat.