We are drowning in plastics.
Plastic pollution is a huge and growing problem. Microplastic waste has been found in the most remote reaches of the world, and in our own bodies. Half of all plastics ever manufactured have been made in the last 15 years. Production increased from 2.3 million tons in 1950 to 448 million tons by 2015. And if you think the problem is bad now, production is expected to double again by 2050.
Single-use plastics are particularly pernicious. With a useful life that is often just minutes long, this plastic can last in the environment for 500 years or more. And many single-use plastics, including black plastic, contain harmful toxins that can leach into the food we eat and the water we drink.
In 2019, Vermont took the first step to address this threat by passing the nation’s toughest restrictions on single-use plastics such as carryout bags, straws and expanded polystyrene. That law went into effect in July, 2020, and since then, Vermonters have effectively avoided using an estimated 52,814,540 plastic bags. That’s enough plastic to fill 582 Olympic sized swimming pools!
But there is still much more to be done. It won’t be easy and we’re up against some incredibly powerful forces, but that’s never stopped us from fighting for what’s right.
Check out our resources to learn more about the threat posed by plastic pollution and how you can take action to make sure Vermont does our part to curb single-use plastics.