Facts about Plastic

Plastic Red Scissors
  • Every piece of plastic that was ever produced still exists.
  • Fathers of the modern plastic industry were chemists Leo Baekeland, Alexander Parkes, Jacques E. Brandenberger, Chemist Roy Plunkett and Daniel Fox.
  • First plastic compounds were made by processing naturally created rubber plants. This process was abandoned after chemist managed to create recipes for fully synthetic plastic.
  • The word “plastic” was introduced in 1925, approximately 100 years after first chemist started working with natural rubber.
  • Before WWII the most popular plastic was Bakelite and its close cousin Catalin. They were used everywhere, from children toys to the parts for large WWII bombers.
  • One of the last truly important plastic compounds that were discovered is Kevlar (1965)!
  • In 2010, 31 million tons of plastic waste was generated only in United States - 14 million tons in containers and packaging, 11 million tons as durable goods and appliances, and almost 7 million tons as non-durable goods (plates, cups, cheap kitchenware, etc.).
  • Eight percent of United States plastic waste is recycled, but category of bags, sacks and wraps has larger recycling rate of almost 12%.
  • In the year 2002 only 360 million of bottles was recycled, out of 9.1 billion bottles that were disposed.
  • Over 15 million plastic bottles are used in Great Britain every day, but only around 2.5% of European plastic bottles are recycled.
  • Plastic bottles are made from two types of plastic – 23% of them are made from Polyethylene terephthalate (PET, also used for food packaging, cosmetics) and 62% of them are made from High-density polyethylene (HDPE, also used for milk, detergents, shampoos, bottled water, juices).
  • Buried plastic materials can last for minimum of 700 years.
  • Over 4 million plastic bottles is used by American every hour!
  • Plastic represents 8% of total American waste weight, and 20% of its volume.
  • 1050 milk jugs can be recycled into one 6-foot plastic park bench.
  • Standard weight of one PET 2 liter bottle was reduced by 28% between 1970s and now (it went from 67 to 48 grams).
  • U.S. annually creates over 9 billion plastic bottles. Around two thirds end up in landfills or incinerators.
  • The largest plastic recycling facility in the U.S. is Wellman Inc, located in South Carolina. It annually process over 2.5 billion plastic bottles, turning them into polyester fiber compound known as Fortrel EcoSpun.
  • Small plastic cup can take 50 to 80 years to decompose.
  • 11% of household waste is plastic, and 40% of it is plastic bottles.
  • Plastic bags, bottles, and other garbage that end up in the ocean kill around 1 million sea creatures every year.
  • Plastic bags are one of the most common plastic items that are manufactured today – over 300 per person, per year.
  • Recycling plastic is much more energy efficient than incinerating it.
  • 9-15 billion of plastic shopping bags are used each year in Canada alone. On average, one of those bags is used for five minutes before it is discarded.
  • Plastic waste can travel large distances over air and sea. Canadian plastic shopping bags are found as far as Scotland.
  • In 2009, 2.45 billion of PET and HDPE bottles were recycled.
  • Recycling one single plastic bottle saves enough energy to ring 60-watt light bulb for six hours!