Sometimes it really is the simple things that can make the biggest difference. It doesn’t seem all that long ago that plastic grocery bags came on the scene, and the question “paper or plastic?”, became part of our shopping experience. Retailers loved the lightweight bags, that were just a fraction of the cost of paper bags. Consumers liked them for their strength and convinience. No more wet bags breaking on you as you bring in the groceries! Now, plastic bags are everywhere. And I mean everywhere. They are an eyesore on our nations’ roads. They clog our drains and sewers, and they threaten wildlife all over the world. They are even found in the Pacific Ocean, 1000 miles from the shore.
Some Facts About Plastic Bags
- Almost a trillion plastic bags are produced world wide each year! The US goes through a billion of them. (Wall Street Journal)
- If Americans gave up their disposable plastic grocery bags we could save 12 million barrels of oil every year!
- Disposing of plastic bags is a problem. Plastic bags can take 1000 years to disintegrate. And because they are light weight and extremely aerodynamic, even properly disposed of plastic bags can float away and become a blight on the landscape.
- Some studies suggest that up to 100,000 marine animals are killed by ingesting, or becoming trapped in plastic bags.
The problem seems huge, yet the solution is quite simple. Say no to plastic shopping bags. And while you are at it, say no to paper bags as well. (That is another post!) Make it a habit to bring your own reusable bags. And reusable bags are not just for the grocery store. Try bringing your own bags or containers for your other shopping as well. At the very least, try to reuse your plastic shopping bags, and make sure to dispose of them properly.