One of the many things that my wife inspires me in life is her passionate pursuit to live an environment friendly life and one of her regular practices is – Carrying cloth bags every time we step out of home, irrespective of whether we are planning any shopping or not. The bags are always neatly folded (pic) in one corner of her canvas handbag (she doesn’t use leather). This dogged pursuit started some years back and she has been religious in keeping upto it. Those few stray occasions when she did forget carrying them and we ended up buying something (or the restaurant packed the left over for take out in a plastic bag), her disappointment was strong and prominently evident.
Why am I talking about this?
I write this today because I just saw Royal Statistical Society’s winner of the most attention grabbing statistics of 2018, as part of their annual awards.
Hold your heart:
90.5% of all the plastic that’s ever been produced has never been recycled.
The two jaw dropping phrases being : “ever been produced” and “never been recycled”
What does that mean?
Mass production of plastic got underway around 60 years ago and since then around 6.3 billion metric tonnes of plastic waste has been generated.
Of this, 12% of it is incinerated, with the rest ending up in landfill sites, as litter, or polluting the oceans.
Hmm .. ok. Let me make it more vivid:
The 6.3bn metric tonnes of plastic waste is equivalent to about 7.2 trillion grocery bags of plastic, which – if stacked on top of one another – would be enough to reach all the way to the Moon and back 5,790 times. And if each of those bags contained just $1 worth of plastic, that’s an astonishing $7.2 trillion worth of plastic going to waste.
And that, according to one of the judges of the International Statistic of the Year, Prof Liberty Vittert , is enough money to buy Apple, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Walmart, Exxon, GM, AT&T, Facebook, Bank of America, Visa, Intel, Home Depot, HSBC, Boeing, Citigroup, Anheuser-Busch, all the US National Football League teams, all the Major League Baseball teams, and all the English Premier League football teams.
I have been guilty of having cringed on several occasions when she took those bags out, but deep down truly appreciated her tenacity to pursue this important effort (to the best of her ability). The above statistic only takes my appreciation and respect to another level.
And for the first time I actually read those 4 words on the bags – #HabitForThePlanet