Single-use plastics are plastic products that are manufactured with the purpose of being discarded after one use. Examples include soda bottles, disposable cutlery, and shopping bags. About 8.3 billion metric tons of plastic have been produced since the 1950s, half of which was produced in the last 15 years. Unfortunately, 91% of plastics are not recycled. Instead, they are incinerated or end up in landfills or the environment.
Plastic takes over 400 years to break down. If we continue to use plastic at the current rate, there will be 12 billion metric tons of plastic in landfills by 2050, which is 35,000 times as heavy as the Empire State Building. According to the Potomac Conservancy, the five most common types of plastics found in the Potomac River are straws, styrofoam, water bottles and caps, plastic bags, and food wrappers.
There are many ways to avoid single-use plastics. Think about the single-use plastics you use in your day-to-day life and what sustainable swaps you can make. Instead of buying bottled water, use a reusable water bottle. If you wrap your lunch in plastic wrap, try reusable beeswax wrappers. Check out this website for more ideas!