Plastic Waste By The Numbers. The Inspiration Behind Snax Bags
Every Monday morning I start my week off by taking our blue bins and compost to the curb for pickup. Every Monday evening I find myself picking up plastic waste that has blown out of our neighbors recycling bins, down the street and into our yard. As we strive to reduce our families' impact on the environment and we do our best to limit our household waste, like many I have had a sense of following sustainable best practices. Earlier in the year after a particularly windy garbage day I asked myself… What happens to all of this plastic I am picking up off my lawn once it makes its way to the recycling plant? Growing up I would hear that it takes plastics 100+ years to break down. I attribute my compulsive recycling habits to these early life lessons but after diving into the numbers I realized the importance of limiting our household single use plastics consumption where possible because recycling alone is not enough.
By the numbers
- ⅓ of plastic consumption in canada has been manufactured for single use products or packaging
- The Government of Canada estimates that Canadian’s use almost 15 billion plastic bags each year
- Canadians produce 3.3 million tons of plastic waste per year. An estimated 2.8 million tons of plastic waste ends up in Canadian landfills
- Approximately 86% of plastic waste in Canada ends up in the landfill while only 9% makes its way to recycling facilities
- Canada exports approximately 12% of all plastics to international countries for processing. In many cases, this results in plastics being sent to countries with little to now environmental laws to be buried or burned. Check out this CBC Marketplace investigation
- At the rate we are going, plastic waste is expected to quadruple in volume by 2050
So back to my initial question; what happens to all of this plastic after it leaves my blue bin. Reality has set in that it is a 10 steps forward 5 steps back scenario. Recycling is key but it is not a universal solution especially when we see much of our plastics being sent overseas and burned. Yes, continue to do your part and make sure your plastic waste is making its way to the recycling bin but reducing single use plastic waste is crucial. These staggering statistics and desire to learn more about my own family's environmental impact were largely the influence for creating Snax. The average Canadian household purchases and discards an estimated 500 single use plastic sandwich or freezer bags each year. Since transitioning to reusable snack bags we have completely eliminated single use bags from our pantry and we are very proud to have brought this sustainable product to the market in an effort to reduce the use of single use plastics entering our landfills.
Here are a few helpful links if you wish to learn more about your household plastic waste impact: