What’s for dinner? Lego sushi, credit card burgers, or a well-done piece of PVC pipe?
These examples may sound extreme, but can easily represent over time the cumulative amount of microscopic pieces of plastic people consume every day.
People could be ingesting the equivalent of a credit card of plastic a week, a 2019 study by WWF International concluded, mainly in plastic-infused drinking water but also via food like shellfish, which tends to be eaten whole so the plastic in their digestive systems is also consumed.
Using the findings, Reuters news agency reported we ingest the weight of a 4×2 Lego brick in plastic in a month. In a year, that amounts to the plastic in a firefighter’s helmet.
At this rate of consumption, in a decade, we could be eating 2.5kg (5.5 lb) in plastic, the equivalent of over two sizeable pieces of plastic pipe.
And over a lifetime, we consume about 20kg (44 lb) of microplastic.