"The Plastic Catastrophe"

Some plastic facts:
An exhibition at a museum in Zurich which
demonstrates the amount of plastic emitted into
the ocean every 15 seconds. Read more.

  • We have produced as much plastic in the last decade than in the last century
  • We produce 225 million tonnes of plastic a year
  • It is estimated that 10% of all plastic ends up in the sea, which according to the United Nations, equates to 6.4 million metric tonnes currently existing in our oceans.
  • 100,000 mammals (including whales, turtles and seals) and 1,000,000 birds die each year from ingesting plastic or being caught in plastic.
  • Plastic never completely breaks down. It degrades into smaller and smaller pieces, but every piece of plastic ever produced still exists somewhere in the world.
  • Plastic leaches toxins that contaminate soil and waterways. It is also linked to health issues like infertility, cancer and asthma.
  • Plastic can't be recycled effectively. It can be turned into lesser quality plastics. This process has been coined "down-cycling".
  • Plastic is made from petro-chemicals; it is a product of the oil industry. With New Zealand's annual use of 1 billion plastic shopping bags alone, we could drive 72,000 cars the length of the country on the petroleum used to produce the bags.

Read what authorities have to say or are doing about plastic in our oceans:


  1. Is it 225 million tonnes per person per year or 225 million tons per year?

  2. Per year, definitely not per person.