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Just earlier this month I visited Bradenton, Florida, with my mother for a week long tennis camp. Whilst we were in the checkout line in a Publix grocery store, we noticed that around ten plastic bags were used to package our moderate amount of groceries, when it could have taken one or two reusable bags. It is not the first time that I had witnessed plastic bags being wasted excessively in the Publix stores of Florida, as I have visited Florida four times before besides this trip.

Publix is the biggest supermarket chain in Florida, and one of the biggest in the US as well. If Publix truly cared about the environment as they say they do, then they should stop using plastic bags. Right now, I don't see how Publix is living up to their mission statement: "Green isn't just our color, it's our commitment."

We are producing around 300 million tons of plastic every year - an alarming amount that will mostly end up in the oceans. Half of the plastic products produced are for single use- a perfect example of this are plastic bags. A plastic bag has an average “working life” of 15 minutes, meaning that after 15 minutes, the average consumer disposes the plastic bag. This concerns me greatly as plastic waste has been a major problem that has contributed to the growth of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, spanning around 1.6 million square kilometers and containing 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic. Not only is this terrible for the environment and for marine life, but it also affects our health. When fish, shellfish, mussels, and other marine animals consume microplastics that come from broken-down plastics, we end up consuming those animals and are prone to ingesting tiny amounts of unhealthy microplastics. In addition, microplastics can be found in sea salt, which we use as seasoning for meals every day, and they have also been found in honey and beer. According to National Geographic, studies show that these microplastics have been “endocrine disruptors—chemicals that interfere with normal hormone function, even contributing to weight gain.” Although these microplastics mainly reside in the digestive systems of these animals, they have also moved into their organs and muscle tissue, which we consume. 

It will make a huge difference if Publix stores all around the US, especially in Florida, stopped using plastic bags. 

Thank you.