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Status 2022
Curse or blessing?

The practical problem child

How plastic is threatening our planet.

Our grandparents would have been thrilled to be able to buy milk in light­weight plastic bottles instead of having to carry home heavy glass bottles of milk. Today we would be lucky if plastic would never have been invented. That's because the unending plastic flood has become a major problem.

But why is that? As practical as plastic is - such as in the form of a plastic bag - it refuses to disappear! Because plastic does not decay. It only breaks down into smaller and smaller particles called micro­plastics. The scary truth is that every year we dump an unbelievable 32 million metric tons of plastic into the environ­ment world­wide. Plastic which, as in the case of the plastic bag, is used on average once for 25 minutes and never disappears after it has been thrown away. Researchers fear that there will be more plastic than fish in Earth's oceans by 2050.

Those who think, "So what if plastic breaks down into micro­scopically small particles in 500 years? Then it will be as good as gone." should not be surprised if a doctor diagnoses them with micro­plastics in the lungs or the intestines one day. But let's start at the beginning.

What's so special about plastics that makes it so dangerous?


%s coffee cups have been thrown away in Germany alone while you've been reading this article. Every second, 89 cups are added.

How plastic is ruining our groundwater

Will plastic ultimately wind up on our plates?

Is plastic making us sick?

We consume micro­plastics not only through our drinking water and our food but also through the air we breathe, numerous personal care products, clothing and lots more. And we're ingesting an increasing amount of micro­plastics. Various studies have shown that the blood of 90% of people living in indus­trialized nations is chronically contami­nated with plastic. The toxic substance bisphenol A (BPA) in particular was found in almost every blood and urine sample, says Dieter Swandulla, Institute Director of the Physiology 2 Department at the University of Bonn. The substance is a synthetic hormone and is particularly harmful to the health. Initial studies suggest that micro­plastics can lead to cancer, obesity and infertility.

The "Stop Wasting – Start Caring!" initiative“

"Stop Wasting – Start Caring!" CEO Tim Höttges calls on all Deutsche Telekom employees to avoid plastic, packaging and scrap metal.