Mind-blowing Plastic Waste Statistics

Plastic waste is perhaps the most problematic type of rubbish we have today. Globally, we produce millions of tonnes of plastic every year. This shouldn’t come as a surprise since we rely on plastics for a lot of things. The most common plastic products we use include food packaging, plastic grocery bags, plastic bottles, disposable cutlery, and plastic straws. Plastic is also an indispensable component in appliances, electronic devices, and automobiles. Shocking, right? Here’s more plastic waste statistics that will blow your mind.

Global Plastic Waste Statistics

  • In 2015, the annual production of plastic waste is estimated to have equalled 381 million tonnes worldwide. This is a 200% increase from the annual 2 million tonnes of plastic rubbish generated in 1950. 
  • Of the amount generated in 2015, approximately 55 % was discarded, 25% was incinerated, and only 20% was recycled. 
  • In 2016, we generated about 242 million tonnes of plastic rubbish. The main regions which contributed to this amount were East Asia and the Pacific (57 million tonnes), Europe and Central Asia (45 million tonnes), and North America (35 million tonnes).
  • The total of plastic waste generated globally since 1950 to 2017 reached 8.3 billion metric tons. This value is expected to increase to 34 billion metric tons by 2050.

Plastic Waste Statistics in Australia

  • In 2017-2018, Australians generated a whopping 3.4 million tonnes of plastics. This amount is a 15% increase from the 2.96 millions tonnes of plastic waste generated in the previous financial year. 
  • Of that amount, only about 9.4% is recycled which equals 320, 000 tonnes. This recycling rate is a small decrease from 9.8% in 2016-2017. About 46% (145,700 tonnes) of the recycled amount was recycled within the country while the remaining  54% (174,300 tonnes) was exported.
  • Among the plastic polymers, HDPE ranked the most consumed plastic at 657, 000 tonnes, followed by PP (469, 000 tonnes) and unknown polymers (468, 000 tonnes). PET and HDPE, both used in packaging, have the highest recycling rate at 21.1% and 15.0%, respectively. 

Did You Know That…

  • Plastic doesn’t degrade until after 450 years to forever. This means that the plastic waste we’ve accumulated now will stay with us for a very long time.
  • About 8 million pieces of plastic waste end up in our oceans daily.
  • Plastic waste comprises 73% of beach litter in the world. The most commonly littered plastic items are cigarette butts, plastic bottles and bottle caps, food wrappers, plastic bags, and foam containers.
  • There are around 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic debris in the ocean. This is equal to four billion plastic microfibres per square kilometre and a weight of 269,000 tonnes. 
  • Plastic debris in the ocean kills approximately 100,000 marine mammals and turtles and 1 million sea birds every year. Additionally, more than half of the turtles in the ocean have consumed plastic
  • Over 40% of discarded plastic is only used once.

How Can You Minimise Plastic Waste?


Plastic waste is a global problem that has serious impacts on the environment and human health. Aside from degrading and polluting our natural resources, plastic rubbish also threatens animal life and human health. Many marine species die and suffer due to plastic ingestion or entanglement. Moreover, plastic releases harmful chemicals to the environment. And the worst part is that they take years to decompose.

There are many ways on how you can reduce your plastic consumption. One of which is by using reusable items such as grocery bags, food containers, water bottles, and other reusable products. This way, you won’t need single-use plastic products that would instantly get discarded after use. Reusing is also a great way to save money since you only have to pay a one-time for these items, and then you can use them over and over again.

Kurt’s Rubbish Removal is the most reliable and sustainable rubbish removal company in Sydney. We offer residential, commercial, and industrial rubbish removal in the most environment-friendly way possible. Our team of expert removalists always make sure to reduce the amount of rubbish we send to landfills by recycling as much waste as possible. From collection through to the disposal of your rubbish, you have nothing to worry about because we will handle everything for you. Call us now at 0428 255 438 to get a free quote.

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