Because parties using disposable supplies occur only a few times a year for most mainstream consumers the destructive contributions they make on the environment is generally ignored.
But when you multiply this by millions of parties each year world-wide the results are significant.
Here are some statistics on where traditional disposable tableware goes:
• Australians generated approximately 43.8 million tonnes of waste (approximately 2,080 kilograms of waste per person) in 2006–07 (www.abs.gov.au)
• Over 1.5 million tonnes of plastic was consumed in Australia in 2006 but only 244,011 tonnes was recycled. (www.halvewaste.com.au)
• 90,408 plastic items were collected during Clean Up Australia Day in 2010. This accounted for 32% of all rubbish picked up. (www.cleanup.org.au)
• Around 100 million tonnes of plastic is produced each year with about 10% ending up in the sea. (www.greenpeace.org)
Plastics are made from natural resources - fossil fuels such as oil, gas and coal. Because they have been around for only 60 years it is not known how long they take to break down, but it is estimated the average plastic bag takes 500 years to do so. (www.livinggreener.gov.au)