When it comes to sustainable initiatives, much of the talk will involve plastics. The reason is obvious to anyone who sees plastic statistics.

• Move then 380 million tons of plastic products are produced globally each year.
• Only 14 percent of plastic products are properly recycled and reused
• More than 10 million tons of those plastics are dumped into oceans each year
• The environment is so littered with plastics that people can’t help but ingest it. In fact, people consume the equivalent of a credit card of microplastics each week. (Click here to read more on microplastics.)

A TEDEd video recently followed the life of three separate plastic bottles. The goal is to outline how plastics are created, used and to emphasize why proper disposal is essential.

For example, one bottle is dumped into a landfill, where it might take up to 1,000 years to decompose. Meanwhile, it mixes with other trash and contributes to toxic water-soluble compounds. Leakage can make its way into groundwater and area waterways, poisoning ecosystems along the way.

A second bottle becomes litter, which eventually reaches a stream that flows into the ocean. There it joins friends in one of the many “garbage patches” that pollute our waters, aquatic animals and eventually the people who consume the fish.

Finally, a third bottle is recycled, broken down and repurposed into a new product.

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