Science of Plastic Pollution 101

Plastic Cup

Plastic is trashing our oceans

Plastic Can Holder

Single use plastic items are manufactured to be cheap and disposable.
500 MILLION plastic straws are used in the United States alone every DAY.

Plastics are a byproduct of fossil fuel extraction. The waste from producing refined oil - ethylene and propylene - becomes the basis for plastic goods - like plastic straws. 

Straws and other single-use plastics are usually used and thrown away within minutes. Many institutions, businesses, cities, and countries don’t have the infrastructure in place to be able to recycle single use plastic items like straws, so they go in the trash, or worse, end up on the ground.

Items like straws are lightweight, so wind and rain can push them into storm drains, where they get washed out into local creeks, rivers, bays, and flow downstream towards the ocean.

Plastic items like straws take a LONG time to break down completely - an estimated 200 years! That means every straw ever created is probably still here on Earth someplace. But, they can break into smaller pieces, called Microplastics.

Microplastics can look like plankton, which animals like fish & turtles love to eat. Animals can eat these microplastics and become sick, OR end up in the fish on our plates. Now WE are eating that plastic straw!