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9 Facts About Litter And How It Affects The Environment

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9 Facts About Litter And How It Affects The Environment

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Pollution (most of which is plastic) is one of the greatest challenges of our age. Find out more about our modern day nemesis with these litter facts for inspo on litter free living.

Romally Coverdale

Thu 27 Apr 2023

Litter (namely, plastic pollution) is one of the greatest challenges of our age and it impacts the planet in ways you might not expect.

Find out how plastic pollution affects our oceans and the environment.

From the scale of plastics' impact to some of the latest statistics, here is everything you need to know about the current situation with plastic pollution.

facts about litter
Image by Tom Fisk

79% of plastic ends up in landfills

Burying plastic doesn't mean it disappears. Obviously. Litter doesn't suddenly vanish.

Did you know that only 9% of plastic is recycled? Leaving 79% to be taken to landfills and the rest to be burnt... All of which contaminate our environment.

Image by tsvibrav


90% of seabirds have plastic in their bodies.

Yup, litter in the form of plastic waste is being found pretty much everywhere. When you find out that 80% of all marine debris are in fact plastic, it's no surprise that it's found its way up the food chain.

Find out where else plastic has been found.

The UK sends plastic overseas!

Even though a plastic bag is only used on average for around 12 minutes, the plastic pollutes the environment for thousands of years.

The Big Plastic Count: An Event To Count On.

Plastic production has sky rocketed.

Global plastic production has risen from 2 million to 380 million tonnes.

Since 1950, plastic pollution has increased by 160 times (as of a 2018 report).


Image by Pcess609


Microplastics have been found in human blood streams.

Perhaps the most surprising litter fact is that plastic isn't just found in animals, but us too.

Microplastics were found in the human bloodstream in 2022, meaning that plastic has been able to work its way into our bloodstreams.

We don't know what impact this has on us, but we do have some understanding of how plastic impacts our bodies.

Plastic has been found in all corners of the globe.

3000 tonnes of nano plastics cover Switzerland every single year.

Microplastics have also been discovered buried deep in the Arctic ice. This comes as no surprise as there is an estimated 51 trillion microplastic particles in the seas.

On average a person consumes 70,000 micro plastics in one year.

As far as facts about litter go, this is perhaps the most nauseating. This equates to around 100 bits of microplastic in a single meal.

This explains how plastics have been getting into our bloodstreams. There are certain foods that are more likely to contain plastic.

Plastic that goes in the ocean ends up on our beaches.

There are 718 pieces of litter for every 100 miles of beach in the UK. And 10 million tonnes of plastic ends up in the sea every year - and this is set to rise.

Especially as 1 million marine animals die due to plastic pollution, more needs to be done.


Image by Rich Carey


Plastic outnumbers sea life 6:1.

Plastic in the ocean is rising. So much so that by 2040 the volume is set to triple.

A plastic bag is only used for how long?

Even though a plastic bag is only used on average for around 12 minutes, the plastic pollutes the environment for thousands of years.

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