Read through The Impact of Plastic on the Earth image below.
The million dollar question is what can be done. Unfortunately, you cannot escape plastic, because it really is all around us. You can, however, boycott plastic that contains phthalates and BPA (it will be labeled with the number 3 or the number 7). You should also stop heating plastic in microwaves, as this releases a number of toxic gases. Of course, recycling is hugely important. Some truly hardcore people have taken to trying to ban plastic altogether, even making their own toothpaste, but that is a life that is not for most of us. But by recycling properly, you are making a huge difference already.
There are many initiatives around the world that are looking at strategies to reduce plastic consumption. Public education and information, and making recycling more accessible and transparent, are two very important things. Banning plastic bags, particularly single-use ones, is something many countries have now committed to. Others also charge for thicker plastic bags. Regulations do work. In countries like Germany, for instance, 60% of all plastic is now recycled as a direct result of public education campaigns to which retailers have also signed up. Everybody has to accept their personal responsibility when it comes to reducing levels of plastic. You simply cannot wait for someone else to start, as the change must start with you, and it has to start now.
What are you doing now? What more can you do?