The short animation film, produced by TED-Ed, explores three possible scenarios regarding the life cycle of a plastic bottle, after it is thrown away. The lesson is by Emma Bryce and the animation by Sharon Colman.
The first scenario is of the most common ones: The plastic garbage ends up in a landfill, where its interaction with rain creates a harmful stew, called ‘leachate’. This mass ends up in ground and streams, harming ecosystems. This bottle will need about 1,000 years to decompose.
The second scenario is equally unpleasant: The bottle follows a journey through a stream that floes into a river and the river ends up in the ocean. After months lost at sea, it is slowly drawn into a massive trash vortex, called the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Then, it is mistaken for food by marine species. As a result, the plastic enters the food web, which ends up in humans.
The third scenario is different from the previous two: The bottle is recycled and its material can be used again. This bottle with the humble plastic origin is now about to be reborn into anything you can imagine: A jacket, a chair, a toothbrush, an umbrella, a bag, a knife.