Plastic Continents interpretation to The Atlantic’s Article

An Article was recently published by The Atlantic, and Plastic Continents wanted to reveal to the readers a visual synopsis of the numbers they shared.

We did a 1:50 minute video, that uses the information given in the Article written by Sarah Zhang.

The article begins by describing a new kind of “Stone” that was discovered on the beaches of Hawaii, in 2014. One that was named “plastiglomerate” and composed of sand, organic debris, volcanic rock, all swirled together with colorful melted plastic. The first stone ever created by humans in origin.

As many others had suggested in the past, plastic lasts forever, where they are now stones that could be markers of the Anthropocene in Rock Records.

We will be known, in the future, and perhaps defined by our use of plastics.

The article goes on to discuss that “for the first time, researchers have published a sweeping, public, and in-depth accounting of all plastic that has ever been made in the entire world. The number is so big as to defy human comprehension: 8,300 million metric tons since 1950. Of this, 6,400 million metric tons has outlived its usefulness and become waste; 79 percent of that waste is sitting in landfills or the natural environment, 12 percent has been incinerated, and just 9 percent has been recycled.”

“The world has made as much plastic in the past 13 years it did in the previous half-century. “I think [that’s] the number that captures it best,” says Roland Geyer, an industrial ecologist at the University of California, Santa Barbara and an author on the study. We’re still rushing headlong into the plastic age.”

“It’s worth considering how much the rise of plastic is tied to the rise of oil and gas. Around this time, the United States began using a lot more oil. Oil is easy to make into plastic, and and it is cheap to do so. These economic forces helped create a new category of product: the disposable, single-use plastic packaging.”

When Geyer was asked if he thought we would eventually move beyond petroleum-based plastics, given a long-term move away from fossil fuels, his answer was “Unfortunately, my answer will be no,” he said. He gave two reasons. First, plastic production uses only a tiny fraction of the fossil fuel that we currently use for energy, so there will be plenty to go around for a long time. And second, he’s not convinced that bioplastics have less of an environmental impact. They aren’t necessarily more biodegradable, and they divert crops away from food. Since large-scale agriculture also relies on fossil fuels for fertilizer, there’s no way to go completely fossil fuel-free yet.”


The Atlantic, writer Sarah Zhang believes that our plastic age will keep going on, and we will keep adding plastiglomerate to the geological record of the Anthropocene.


Plastic Continents believes just the opposite.

At the end of the day, a consumer has power in their choice of purchase and consumption. We believe with knowledge, and awareness of our plastic footprint being so high and impactful, plastic users have the ability to reconsider and begin to reduce their ability in using one-time or useless plastic packaging products.

We have hope in the future. But it all starts with YOU! 🙂 You got this! One-day at a time!

Due to funds, we used Animoto Trial video production, and we apologize for the watermarks. We hope in the future to afford programs to make better quality videos. If you wish to support Plastic Continents, please do not hesitate to do so today! We need all of the help we can to keep spreading awareness and create opportunities.

Article can be read here:
The Atlantic

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