Plastic pollution: definition, causes and consequences

sustainability in Georgia

Definition: what is plastic pollution

Plastic pollution is the accumulation of waste composed of plastic and its derivatives throughout the environment.

Light, resistant, affordable, it is estimated that more than 10 tons of plastic are produced every second for massive reuse in all industries around the world, often through single-use products.

However, plastic has a long lifespan and never completely disappears from the environment in which it is thrown. It finds itself abandoned in our cities, in the middle of nature and to the bottom of the oceans where more than two thirds of our waste ends up landing. The equivalent of several million tons per year.

In the form of visible garbage or microparticles as it slowly degrades, plastic pollution poses significant threats to terrestrial and aquatic habitats and the wildlife that have settled there, whether through ingestion, entanglement or exposure to chemicals contained in the material. Products that eventually reach humans, through the food chain.

Easily understand plastic pollution

It is difficult to approach ecology without mentioning plastic and its disastrous consequences on the environment. As warnings become more and more urgent, what place does plastic really occupy on our planet, and what are the threats to all living beings, including humans? And above all, is it still possible to remove the mountains of plastic waste that are piling up in nature?

The current context

The question is important because today, plastic is everywhere. It has made its way into our packaging, our construction methods and even into the smallest everyday objects. In our toothbrushes, our straws, our razors and even our toothpaste, today it is impossible to go a day without encountering one way or another.

And if it has become essential to our daily lives, all the ecosystems of the Earth benefit from it despite themselves, through the toxic discharges linked to its manufacture or our waste, present in colossal quantities in the oceans in particular. In 1997, during one of his expeditions, the American oceanographer Charles Moore discovered what is now called the 7th continent, a gigantic mass of waste floating in the heart of the North Pacific.

Since then, four other areas of massive plastic accumulation have been identified, in all the oceans of the planet. If only this had been recycled instead of ending up in the oceans!

The history of plastic

However, in 1963, the recent invention of polypropylene and polyethylene, two derivatives of plastic, was rewarded with a double Nobel Prize in Chemistry. At the same time, the introduction of the first plastic bag constituted a small revolution in a society gradually won over by mass consumption.

Since Antiquity, civilizations have used the plastic properties of amber, rubber or horn through their everyday objects. However, it was not until the second half of the 19th century that the first semi-synthetic plastics appeared, obtained from natural materials modified by chemicals.

In 1856, goldsmith Alexander Parkes filed the patent for the first artificial plastic intended to replace ivory, which was then massively imported. The discoveries then followed rapidly, from the invention of PVC in 1880 to those of bakelite from which rotary telephones would be made in the following century.

The mass consumption and the diversification that we are witnessing at the end of the Second World War open the way to a new industry in which petrochemicals will occupy a place of choice. New plastics are becoming entirely synthetic and are obtained from oil or natural gas, to meet the growing needs of populations. Plastic offers more comfort and versatility. And a century later, the material has gone from silver bullet to one of our planet’s worst enemies.

Mass production that began in the 1960s gradually accelerated. 448 million tons of plastic were produced worldwide in 2015 alone, and production is expected to double again by 2050. With an almost infinite lifespan, it is therefore all the plastic ever produced that still litters the land and the oceans.

The cost of renting a dumpster in Marietta, GA

Given all the plastic waste in the USA and in Georgia in particular, some residents and businesses use dumpster rental services in order to discard all their plastic waste at once.

The cost of renting a dumpster in Marietta, GA, can vary depending on several factors. Generally, the price is influenced by the size of the dumpster you need, the duration of the rental, the type of waste you’ll be disposing of, and the specific rental company you choose.

For a standard 10-yard dumpster, you might expect to pay anywhere from $250 to $400 for a week-long rental. Larger dumpsters, like 20 or 30 yards, will naturally cost more, ranging from $350 to $600 or more for a week. Keep in mind that some companies might also charge additional fees for exceeding weight limits or extending the rental period.

The type of waste matters too. Household junk or construction debris is usually cheaper to dispose of compared to hazardous or regulated materials, which might incur additional fees due to special handling and disposal requirements.

To get an accurate cost estimate for renting a dumpster in Marietta, it’s best to contact local rental companies directly, like Marietta Dumpster Guys. They can provide quotes tailored to your specific needs and help you navigate any local regulations or permit requirements, ensuring a smooth and cost-effective disposal process for your project.