Worldwide – One million plastic bottles are sold across the world every minute, reveals market research firm EuroMonitor, which anticipates that this figure will grow 20% by 2021. Recycling is having trouble keeping up with the pace of this rapidly expanding market.
More than 480 billion plastic drinking bottles were purchased worldwide, according to new data obtained by The Guardian. This represents an increase of 300 billion compared to a decade ago. Analysts argue that not even 50% of the bottles sold in 2016 were collected for recycling – while an estimated 7% of those collected were made into new bottles.
On-the-go consumption is an important driver across the beverage industry, EuroMonitor notes. In fact, some 20 000 plastic bottles are manufactured every second. In 2015, 65% of all units sold globally represented PET bottled soft drinks.
Meanwhile, the Trump administration has overturned an existing ban on the sale of plastic water bottles in American national parks, such as the Grand Canyon. To date, 23 US landmark sites have embraced the bottle ban and installed water refill points to reduce littering.
Disposable plastic bottles comprise roughly 20% of the Grand Canyon’s waste stream and 30% of the park’s recyclables, points out Deirdre Hanners, Grand Canyon National Park’s environmental specialist. Visitors are now urged more than ever to throw their plastic waste in one of the many recycling bins on-site.
The world generates around 275 million tonnes of plastic waste annually (click to enlarge)