You Eat a Credit Card’s Worth of Plastic Each Week, Says This Unsettling WWF Campaign

New study suggests humans consume 100,000 microplastics every year

Headshot of Minda Smiley

Urban legend has it that the average person eats eight spiders per year while sleeping. While that (thankfully) isn’t true, a new body of research points to a similar statistic that unfortunately seems to be all too real: people ingest approximately five grams of plastic per week.

The data comes courtesy of the World Wildlife Fund, which recently tapped the University of Newcastle in Australia to carry out a study on the issue of plastic ingestion. According to the WWF, the body of research—which combined data from more than 50 studies on the ingestion of microplastics by humans—found that the single largest source of plastic ingestion is through water, both bottled and tap. Salt, beer and shellfish are also some of the worst offenders.

Grey Malaysia helped the WWF bring some of these jarring facts to life via a campaign that shows just how much plastic an individual consumes each week. For instance, if the average person ingests roughly five grams of plastic per week, that equates to eating a credit card. After one month of swallowing plastic, you’re up to 21 grams, or an entire clothes hanger.

The hope is that these visuals will shock people, companies and governments into taking action.

“If we don’t want plastic in our bodies, we need to stop the millions of tons of plastic that continue leaking into nature every year,” said Marco Lambertini, international director general of WWF, in a statement. “In order to tackle the plastic crisis, we need urgent action at government, business and consumer levels, and a global treaty with global targets to address plastic pollution. Not only are plastics polluting our oceans and waterways and killing marine life–it’s in all of us, and we can’t escape consuming plastics.”

The campaign also includes a website, Your Plastic Diet, where visitors can take a test to find out how much plastic they’re unintentionally eating. Additionally, the site provides information on how this problem came to be and what can be done to curb it.


Agency: Grey Malaysia
Graham Drew, Executive Creative Director
Andrew Fong, Creative Director
Heng Thang Wei, Creative Director
Selva Ganapathy, Copywriter
Kevin Wong, Art Director
Ralve Khor, Art Director
Suzy Chiang, Producer
Jo Yau, General Manager
Marcus SK, Brand Director
Vivian Khoo, Account Executive
Huma Qureshi, Regional Director PR & Corp Comms AMEA

Production Team
MFX Sdn. Bhd.
Post Production
Glass Fin (KL)
Sound Production
Maverick AV Sdn. Bhd.

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@Minda_Smiley Minda Smiley is an agencies reporter at Adweek.