Feb 13, 2023
The production of single-use plastics surged to record levels in 2021. That's despite stronger regulations and government pledges to ban their use. A new report on single-use plastics just came out.
The Plastic Waste Makers Index was released last week. It found that around the world 139 million metric tons of one-time-use plastic were made that year. That's 6 million metric tons more than the first index recorded in 2019.
The report said the surge was driven by higher demand for plastic packaging.
Experts say discarded plastic is an environmental hazard. It can kill animals that eat it. The plastic releases harmful chemicals into the soil. It's also mostly made from polymers. They're made from fossil fuels. Those are a big driver of climate change.
At least four countries – the UK, Kenya, Bangladesh, and St Kitts and Nevis – have bans or plans to phase out certain types of single-use plastic. The European Union has as well. California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, New York, Oregon, and Vermont have bans on single-use plastic bags. Hundreds of cities have banned plastic drinking straws. Many of these bans were put in place after the report came out.
The index said these efforts aren’t going far enough or fast enough.
Solutions to Multiplying Plastic
In this lesson, students use multiplication to understand the problem of single-use plastics and how they impact climate change.
What Happens to Plastic in the Soil?
In this simplified scientific paper, students will read about how plastic that ends up in our soil undergoes chemical and physical changes over time.
30 Days Without Single-Use Plastics
This video follows a woman who chose to avoid single-use plastics for one month.