The Life of a Plastic Bag

The maths involved with plastic bags are quite staggering and something that takes a while to get your head around. So we’ve tried to break this down into something that is understandable. The world trades in barrels of oil, so we have are highlighting the equivalent number of barrels of oil that are entering the natural environment annually from the disposal of plastic bags. Current predictions put plastic bag production estimates between 500 billion and 100 trillion a year. For the purposes here we’ve worked with the lower estimate.


Annually 500 billion plastic bags are created, which is the equivalent of 7,575 plastic bags for each person in the UK


We recycle 0.5% which is two billion five hundred million.


Therefore four hundred and seventy billion, five hundred million plastic bags find their way into landfill, river-ways and oceans annually.


It takes 12 million barrels of oil to make 100 billion plastic bags.


So this means we are dumping the equivalent of 58 million barrels of oil into the natural environment every year. That’s 3,815 olympic sized swimming pools.


BP’s Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in 2010 released 3.2 million barrels into the Gulf of Mexico.


It is estimated that a million seabirds and 100,000 animals such as whales, dolphins, seals and turtles die from plastic bags a year.


All for a product that is used on average for 20 seconds.