We, unknowingly purchase 380 billion plastic bags per year, and only 5,2% of them are recycled. (US Survey) The rest remain in landfills for over 1,000 years. Yes...Plastic bags have a life span of over 1,000 years. Because of the huge number of plastic bags used worldwide, the negative environmental impact is considerable. Plastic bags impact on the environment in a number of different ways. They are not biodegradable. Reusablebags.com in their "Top Facts - Environmental Impact " section says "Plastic bags don’t biodegrade, they photodegrade—breaking down into smaller and smaller toxic bits contaminating soil and waterways and entering the food web when animals accidentally ingest." They are made from fossil fuel. “Californians Against Waste” estimates that 12 million barrels of oil are used annually to produce the plastic bags used in the USA alone. Extrapolated world wide this is a huge waste of precious fossil fuel and adds considerably to the world’s man made greenhouse gas emissions. They are difficult to recycle. The New England EPA says, “Research from 2000 shows 20 percent of paper bags were recycled, while one percent of plastic bags were recycled.” Resuablebags.com in the "Top Facts Section" of their website estimates that “8 billion pounds of plastic bags, wraps and sacks enter the waste stream every year in the US alone” If we don't stop using plastic bags our children and future generations to come will have no more natural resources, and our oceans and beaches will be plastic playgrounds. Did you know that one plastic bag has enough petroleum to fuel a smart car for one hour!? So we are not just talking about harm to our planet- filling up the landfills and harming our animals when swallowed- but it perpetuates the dependency on fossil fuels. Do your part today to help get them out of all retail stores and supermarkets across America.
Action is being taken all over the world to reduce the negative environmental impact of plastic bag consumption. In 2012 Italy introduced a ban in January. Ireland, Wales and Northern Ireland have all legislated against single-use carrier bags. Germany, South Africa, Italy, Australia, India, Somalia, Botswana, Philippines, Uganda, Kenya, Japan, Turkey, Ethiopia, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Belgium, South Korea, Singapore, Sweden, Bhutan, Malta, and China are just a few countries that have outright banned their use.
While an individual bag may appear inconsequential, we use over 360 billion each year in the US alone, and this number is increasing. Their accumulation in vast numbers that do not degrade creates a growing problem in the oceans and across the country. There is also evidence to suggest they are entering our food chain: plastic leaches chemicals and also absorbs toxic chemicals from the ocean, passing them up the food chain.
Let's get plastic bags out of supermarkets, retailers, and stores nationwide now!
Please help support a plastic-bag-free United States.