Visualising the world’s addiction to plastic bottles Around the world, almost 1 million plastic bottles are purchased every minute.
As the environmental impact of that tide of plastic becomes a growing political issue, major packaged goods sellers and retailers are under pressure to cut the flow of the single-use bottles and containers that are clogging the world’s waterways. Plastic production has surged in the last 50 years, leading to widespread use of inexpensive disposable products that are having a devastating effect on the environment. Images of plastic debris-strewn beaches and dead animals with stomachs full of plastic have sparked outrage.
Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles are commonly used for soft drinks and mineral water, but can also be used in other household or personal care products. Data from Euromonitor International, shows that more than 480 billion of these bottles were sold last year alone. That’s almost 1 million every minute. The illustrations below show what that pile of plastic would look like if it was collected over a longer period of time.
Every hour 54.9 million bottles.
The pile would be higher than Rio de Janeiro’s Christ the Redeemer.
Every day 1.3 billion bottles.
Every day the equivalent of a bottle pile half the size of the Eiffel Tower in Paris is sold around the world.
One month 40 billion bottles.
In one month’s time, the Eiffel Tower looks dwarfed next to the mountain of bottles that have accumulated.
In a full year 481.6 billion bottles.
If all of the plastic bottles sold in 2018 were gathered in a pile, it would be higher than the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai.
Past 10 years 4 trillion bottles.
The plastic bottles sold worldwide since 2009 would tower above New York’s Manhattan Island. Data from Euromonitor International shows that more than 480 billion of these bottles were sold last year alone. The 2018 annual figure of almost 482 billion is up more than 50% since 2009. The pile visualised below is around 2.4 km high and dwarfs the glittering skyscrapers of the Financial District at the tip of Lower Manhattan.