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Plastic is one of the most widely used materials in the modern world. How much do you know about it? We’ve found 33 scary plastic facts for kids that will blow your mind about everything from general plastic waste to plastic in the ocean.

Plastic Facts for Kids 1-11

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1. Alexander Parkes, a British inventor, is said to have made the first plastic, called Parkesine.

2. There are ten types of plastic that people make and use every day.

3. Almost all of the plastic ever made is still around today.

4. One bottle of plastic that has been reused can save enough energy to power a 60W lightbulb for 6 hours.

5. Sweden is so good at recycling that it no longer has enough trash and has to import 80,000 tons of trash from Norway every year.

6. Only about 74% of plastic drink bottles are recycled in the UK.

7. You can make enough fiber from 5 plastic bottles to fill one ski jacket.

8. One plastic bottle takes about 450 years to break down.

plastic-waste

9. If a person uses a reusable water bottle, they won’t have to buy 100 disposable bottles every year.

10. One ton of recycled plastic saves 5,774 kWh of electricity, 685 gallons of oil, 98 million Btu’s of energy, and 30 cubic yards of space in a landfill.

11. By recycling one ton of plastic bottles, 1.5 tons of carbon are also saved. About 25,000 plastic bottles are equal to 1 ton. –

Plastic Facts for Kids 12-22

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12. When recycled plastic is used instead of “virgin” plastic, 75% less energy is needed to make a plastic bottle. –

13. There is a type of fungus that lives in the Amazon that eats plastic and can live on it.

14. So that people will recycle more, the Beijing subways accept plastic bottles as a form of payment.

15. Kenya banned plastic bags in 2017. If someone is caught making, selling, or even using a plastic bag, they could be fined £31,000.

16. Recycling makes 6 times as many jobs as putting trash in a landfill and 36 times as many as burning trash.

17. 90% of people say that if recycling were easier, they would do it more.

18. There are already more than 5 trillion pieces of plastic floating in the oceans.

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19. Plastic makes up 73% of the trash on beaches around the world. This includes cigarette filters, bottles, food wrappers, and polystyrene containers.

20. From 2.1 million tonnes in 1950 to 147 million tonnes in 1993 to 406 million tonnes in 2015, the amount of plastic made in the world has grown at a very fast rate.

21. By 2050, almost every kind of seabird on Earth will be eating plastic.

22. More than 6.3 billion tons of plastic waste had been made as of 2015.

About 9% of that was recycled, 11% was burned, and the other 80% went into landfills or the environment.

Plastic Facts for Kids 23-33

23. Only 9 percent of the plastic that is made is recycled.

24. Every minute, 2 million plastic bags are used all over the world.

25. Some parts of the world don’t allow plastics that can only be used once.

26. One truckload of plastic is dumped into the ocean every minute, every day.

27. 73% of beach trash around the world is plastic.

28. Every minute, a million plastic bottles are bought.

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29. By 2050, there could be more plastic in the ocean than fish.

30. Up to 95% of the plastic that ends up in the oceans comes from 10 rivers.

31. By 2050, 99% of seabirds will eat plastic.

31. Each year, the average person eats 70,000 tiny pieces of plastic.

32. On average, a plastic bag is only used for 12 minutes.

33. In the last 50 years, the amount of plastic made around the world has doubled.

Sources: 1, 2, 3

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