Supermarkets Need to Stop Using Plastic Bags to Save the Oceans

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I would like to encourage super markets to stop using plastic bags. Plastic bags contribute greatly to the pollution of the planet. Over one trillion plastic bags are discarded annually. There is an estimated 40,000 plastic bags per square mile in the ocean. The production of plastic reached over 300 million tons in the year 2014, and is expected to rise over 200 million tons by the year 2050. Fish, oceanic mammals, and birds ingest these plastic bags mistaking them for jellyfish or other substances. The bags fill their intestines and stomachs and give the ocean organisms a full feeling. The animals no longer wish to eat anything and eventually die of starvation. It is a slow and painful death for them. (The Great Pacific Garbage Patch- Explainer)

The goal of this petition is to end the use of plastic bags in supermarkets all together. Other environmentally friendly alternatives can be used. In certain states a charge for the usage of plastic bags is in place. States like California for example charge a 10 cent fee for every plastic bag needed. Charging a fee for the use of plastic bags has shown results, but the environmental issue still stands strong. The oceans are still filled with millions of floating plastic bags. People should be encouraged to bring their own reusable bags to the supermarkets.

A partial solution stands for the reduction of the use of plastic bags. Biodegradable bags have recently been created. However, several problems linger with these biodegradable plastics. The plastics require specific environmental conditions to break down. Some of the plastics also contain toxins that are harmful to the environment. Even though the plastics are biodegradable, they still linger in the sea and on land for hundreds of years. Plastic bags in our canals, rivers, and oceans are a huge problem, that will not be solved overnight. However, substantial steps can be taken in order to prevent further damage of our environment and the organisms which live within it. (How we Can Keep Plastic out of the Ocean- National Geographic)

There are two directions which could be taken in order to prevent any further pollution. The first, less expensive option, is encouraging people to start using reusable, biodegradable bags. The use of plastic bags in supermarkets would be eliminated. If plastic bags were taken away from super markets, people would be required to use their own bags. The second option for the destruction of plastic bags is biodegradable starch bags. They are renewable and can be composted along with other materials. The starch bags can decompose entirely. These starch bags are labeled ‘EN13432’. This code is put on all products which have been verified as non-harming products. They can biodegrade at the same rate as home compost or within 60 days in a commercial compost system. These starch bags are being tested in countries which have had the greatest effect on plastic pollution such as Indonesia.


Supermarkets should have two available options for consumers. The first being starch bags being provided at the customers expense. Each bag would cost several cents for the consumer. The second option is that consumers shall use their own reusable shopping bags. Reusable shopping bags will eliminate waste almost completely and do not require to be decomposed at home or commercially. If we want our children to grow up and continue to enjoy the beauty of the oceans, change must be made. If we want to grow up in a better, cleaner world, plastic bags must be taken away from super markets. The elimination of plastic bags will save the oceans of the earth over 4 trillion pounds each year.   


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