Three Things You Didn’t Know About Plastic Bags

Plastic Garbage

Plastic Garbage

Have you ever wondered how big the plastic bag problem really is? Have you ever noticed that even though reusable canvas bags are offered for sale at most major supermarkets that nobody in line is actually using them? Most Americans don’t realize that by throwing away their plastic bags they are contributing to a world-wide problem that affects the landfills, the ocean, and in turn us.

We need to start thinking green and implementing reusable bags into our daily lives. It’s important to take a minute to think about the environment before getting your groceries double-bagged in plastic. A few interesting facts may deter you next time you are in line at the grocery store:

Americans use over 100 billion plastic bags every year. http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/recycling/bags.html (source), which is an enormous amount of plastic bags, especially if they aren’t be recycled. Although plastic bag cans and recycling facilities exist, very few take advantage of these programs. Although some plastic bag users do recycle the bag and reuse them for home use – it is still going into the landfill where it won’t degrade. Plastic bags interfere with the landfill operation of deterioration.

There is a floating landmass of plastic in the Pacific Ocean the size of Texas. http://www.naturalhistorymag.com/master.html?http://www.naturalhistorymag.com/1103/1103_feature.html (source)

Really? Yes, really. Although plastic bags do break down into smaller particles and pieces, often times it raises a bigger issue for marine life and animals in their natural habitats. When plastic is in small pieces it can be mistaken as a food source and can even get trapped on the animal suffocating it. It is estimated by the California Coastal Commission that nearly 80 percent of all marine debris is plastic. This number can eventually be reduced if we start thinking green and become active now as to avoid adding to the problem.

Both plastic and paper bags have drawbacks.
Plastic bags take more energy to manufacture than paper, but paper bags are heavier to transport. Although there are recycling programs for both, why not use a canvas bag that can be continually used? They come in fashionable shapes and sizes and are available online or in your local major supermarket.

So why not use canvas or reusable bags? Think about the estimate of how many plastic bags you use in a year. Now think about how many you will save when you start thinking green and using reusable grocery bags instead.

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