More and More Cities and Countries Considering Bagging Plastic

Beach Plastic Litter

Beach Plastic Litter

A Swedish engineer invented plastic bags in the 1960s, but they didn’t make their way into American grocery stores until the 1980s when supermarket giants such as Kroger and Safeway began to offer plastic alongside paper. Plastic bags went unnoticed on the social and environmental spectrums until the turn of the century, when environmental researchers began to highlight the incredibly slow decomposition rates of plastic and its adverse effect on the planet.

In the handful of years since, a few of the more progressive cities in the United States and a host of other countries around the globe have either banned the use of plastic bags in certain situations altogether or imposed fees that essentially discourage their use. A constant proponent of the push to ban plastic is the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch”, which is a huge glob of plastic refuse of many shapes, sizes, colors and origins in the north of the Pacific Ocean that has been growing in size and density since its inception.

According to an article published on in January of 2012, the island nation of Guam is seriously considering banning plastic bags after studies showed that their discarded plastic was making a beeline for the GPGP, which is located about 2,000 miles east of their shores. Such a move would likely force other Pacific Rim nations to consider doing the same, possibly setting off a domino effect that could travel throughout the Far East.

As for the Unites States, the only major cities to make the move to ban plastic bags in grocery stores as of the beginning of 2012 have been San Francisco and Portland, Oregon. Interestingly, both cities are located much closer to the GPGP than 90% of the vast nation. Perhaps an “out of sight, out of mind” approach is still being employed in the Midwest, South and along the Eastern Seaboard.

It is clear to see why plastic bags are popular, as they provide flexibility and strength for the consumer carrying goods from the store to their home while presenting a low cost to the business owner that purchases them. While opponents of plastic bags are quick to point out that the cost is essentially passed on to the planet, the plain truth is that we live in a world fueled by technology and convenience, and plastic bags represent a convergence of the two.

By using reusable shopping bags we save money and become part of the solution in saving the environment.

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