The Complicated Relationship of Plastic and Climate Change

When we first think about plastic, what usually comes to mind is where they end up after disposal. We know that many of our plastic pollutions, especially single-use plastic, end up in our oceans, waterways, and landfills. The way plastic makes almost everything convenient for us subsequently poses a danger to our marine life and clogs our landfills. But do you know about its genesis? 

Plastic and Climate Change

Scientists project that by 2050, there will be more plastic than fishes in our seas. Plastic is genuinely one of the most persistent pollutants present in different ecosystems, and they would live longer than any of us. Most single-use plastic lasts for 400 years or more. At the beginning of its “life,” plastic creates greenhouse gas emissions that harm our atmosphere and contribute to global warming. They continue to emit more once they are exposed to sunlight and heat for a long period of time.

According to this article by WWF Australia, “almost all plastic is derived from materials (like ethylene and propylene) made from fossil fuels (mostly oil and gas).” There are billions of tonnes of greenhouse gasses released in our atmosphere when we extract fossil fuels and manufacture different kinds of plastics. 

The problem doesn’t end there. In its lifetime, plastic enters different ecosystems. Our relationship with plastic causes an extra level of harm to our environment. Let me share with you some of these facts according to

  • Over 300 million tons of plastic are produced every year. 
  • The world uses 500 billion single-use plastic bags every year.
  • A plastic bag is used for only 15 minutes on average but can last for a millennium.
  • 91% of all the plastic ever created has not been recycled.
  • Among the grimmest plastic pollution facts of 2019 is that no beach on the planet today is free of plastic trash
  • By 2050, landfill plastic waste will be 35,000x as heavy as the Empire State Building.

What can we do?

There has to be a systemic change in curbing plastic production and recycling plastic waste globally. We must proactively appeal to our government leaders to stop greenhouse gas emissions exacerbating climate change in all sectors. At a local level, reducing our plastic use and practicing a more sustainable lifestyle are some of the things we can collectively do to slow down the effects of climate change. Here in Barrel Bag, we offer eco-friendly and sustainable cleanup bags made from fabric made of recycled plastic. We also hold virtual cleanups during the pandemic to avoid plastic accumulation in our oceans, waterways, and even just in our neighborhood. We must continue educating ourselves on the effects of our current behaviors and reevaluate the practices that we do that brought us here in the first place.



3rd Virtual Cleanup Results

Last October 24-31, we held our 3rd VIRTUAL CLEANUP in celebration of the International Day of Climate Action. Once again, we were reminded that every little thing that we do for our planet matters.

During last week’s cleanup, we recorded 9 new cleanups, 6 Cu. Ft. increase in trash collected, and 8 Cu Ft. increase in plastic collected. I think we all deserve a pat on the back!

Also, congratulations to our Waste Warrior and also one of our interns, Pragya, for participating in our virtual cleanup. She did an amazing job doing her own cleanup in her neighborhood.

Thank you so much once again to our community members, partners, & our entire team for joining our movement and leading the way to keep our environment clean. If you’re bummed you didn’t get to join, don’t worry, we will be hosting another Virtual Cleanup soon! Follow us on Instagram @barrelbag for updates!

Why Life Below Water Matters

Our oceans make up about 3/4 of Earth, so there is no denying that they are an essential factor supporting life on the planet. They absorb about 23% of carbon dioxide emissions that humans generate annually, and 90% of the climate system’s excess heat. Oceans are home to nearly a million known and unknown species to man. For the longest time, they have continued to support over 3 billion people’s economic, social, and environmental needs.

Over the years, the vast exploitation of life below water has led to an alarming degradation level. The increasing number of debris in our oceans has an impending environmental and economic impact on everyone and every living creature on this planet. According to the United Nations, “every year, an estimated 5 to 12 million metric tonnes of plastic enters the ocean, costing roughly $13 billion per year.” The primary source of pollutants in our oceans is plastic litter brought about by the massive and worldwide use of single-use plastic items. Irresponsible tourism can also pose a significant threat to our oceans and natural resources.

Taking Action

In protecting life below water, solutions come into different levels: global and local impact. Many countries achieve sustainability by increasing international agreements and cooperation in protecting our oceans and other natural resources. Governments must pivot into understanding the effect of climate change and create a comprehensive and inclusive plan that will efficiently and equitably conserve life below water and ensure their people a sustainable future.

In our communities, we should pivot to a lifestyle that does not harm our environment. We should make wise decisions in purchasing products that harm our environment, like avoiding single-use plastic. There is an urgent need to eliminate plastic pollution in our oceans and waterways by organizing clean-ups on our beaches or even just outside our homes. Our journey to protect our oceans can also begin by raising awareness about the importance of life below water and why we need to protect it.


To Read More About UN Sustainability Goal # 14, check THIS out!

Click to access E_infographics_14.pdf

A Complete Introduction on Marine Conservation with Eco-Conscious Diver

Even though the global pandemic kept us indoors, Barrel Bag continues to find ways of bringing you opportunities to learn more about our environment and its conservation. 

This month, we are thrilled to share with you that we are partnering with Eco-Conscious Diver to bring you everything you need to know about Marine Conservation. This 6-hour online course is a step by step guide to learning and implementing your marine conservation journey! This self-paced program is perfect for aspiring conservationists, recreational divers, or anyone who simply loves the ocean and wants to learn more about it, how to take action. When you enroll in this course using our affiliate link, you’re also donating to our ongoing fundraiser, Barrel Bag Community Impact Campaign!



By the end of this course, you’ll be able to:

  • Speak intelligently about our underwater world.
  • Learn how to begin taking action immediately.
  • Be equipped with tools to gain data survey experience.

Upon enrollment, you’ll have immediate access to all course content, including:

  • Video Lessons
  • Workshops
  • Helpful Links/Resources
  • Private Online Community 
  • 24/7 access to members-only community to ask questions and network with other like-minded newbie marine conservationists.
  • Lifetime Access Across All Devices *including all future updates*

Upon completion, you’ll receive:

  • A certificate of completion
  • 2 PADI certifications: Project AWARE & Coral Reef Conservation
  • 10% OFF entire Eco-Conscious Diver website & upcoming trips/events.
  • Access to an exclusive Facebook group for weekly live Q&A sessions.
  • Quizzes & activities to check knowledge and retention.
  • Training for data surveys & materials.
  • + TWO Bonus Education Sections: Shark & Ray Conservation, Marine Protected Areas.

Click HERE to enroll now!

Barrel Bag Community Impact Campaign

The Barrel Bag Community Impact Campaign aims to partner and support other nonprofit organizations focused on ocean conservation, youth environmental education, and plastic policy.

Our first partner is the Green Schools Alliance, a worldwide network of schools committed to reducing their greenhouse gas emissions and accelerating sustainable solutions.

We will use a portion of the funds raised through this campaign to provide free Barrel Bags to a Green Schools Alliance member school.


Today, we are happy to announce that we are 20% closer to our goal! Thank you so much to all of our generous donors throughout the past few weeks. No matter how big or small your contributions were, know that you are supporting our mission to protect our world.


To donate, click the link below.

Virtual Clean Up Results

Despite being in quarantine, our Barrel Bag community was able to collect 227 cubic feet of plastic and 59 cubic feet of trash.

Congratulations to our giveaway winners @sea_dreamer_ for participating in the most cleanups and @kendraperrycoaching for collecting the most trash!

Thank you so much to our community members, partners, & our entire team for joining our movement and leading the way to keep our environment clean. If you’re bummed you didn’t win, don’t worry, we will be hosting another Virtual Cleanup soon! Follow us on Instagram @barrelbag for updates!

The Reality of California’s Plastic Bag Pollution Situation

In this “mockumentary”, Academy Award-winner Jeremy Irons, narrates the harsh reality of California’s plastic pollution. Let us know your insights!


Credit Video name: The Majestic Plastic Bag by Heal The Bay

Credit Link:


4 Main Ways Harmful Trash ends up in the Ocean


When trash or recyclables are transported from residential trashcans and/or commercial dumpsters to landfills or recycling facilities. Oftentimes, people place trash and recyclables into overflowing bins, attracting unwanted or other wildlife scavengers, causing the excess debris to be carried or blown away and scattered onto the streets, beaches, waterways etc.


Litter thrown on the streets is carried by wind and rainwater into storm drains. Te polluted runoff flows into our streams and rivers, and eventually into the ocean. In California, storm drains are not connected to wastewater treatment plants, which means litter which enters the storm drains goes straight into the ocean.


When we wash our clothes in the washing machine, fabric microfibers (some of which may contain plastics) are released. These microbers go down our drains into wastwater treatment plants. They are too small to be filteres out by wastwater treatments and end up being released into our waterways.


Fishermen lose and/or irresponsibly abandon their fishing gear-including nets and ropes because of stroms, other passing vessels, or simply abandon them because they are old and worn out. Sometimes, people on boats throw their trash overboard, or trash accidentally falls, gets blown or washed off vessels into the water.