Most of us have seen the devastating and heart wrenching images of birds being terminally entangled by plastic bags. Of wildlife being overrun and littered with our garbage. Of the deaths of animals due to plastic bag ingestion.According to a World Wildlife Fund Report in 2005, nearly 200 different species of sea life including whales, dolphins, seals, and turtles die because of plastic bags.Think about the magnitude of the problem: The United States Environmental Protection Agency released data that estimates between 500 billion and a trillion plastic bags are consumed worldwide each year.
To make matters worse, most bag are not recycled because it costs more to recycle a bag than to produce a new one. In fact, It costs $4,000 to process and recycle 1 ton of plastic bags, which can then be sold on the commodities market for $32. Not good economics, for sure. But does that mean we should just keep consuming more bags? Definitely not.
Bags end up in landfills, oceans, seas, and lakes. They end up strangling animals, filling our sewer systems, and blowing throughout the environment.
In fact, according to the National Marine Debris Monitoring Program, plastic bags account for over 10 percent of the debris washed up on the coastline.Unlike items that naturally biodegrade, plastic bags are made from polyethylene: a thermoplastic made from oil. Plastic bags photodegrade… meaning that over time the plastic breaks down into smaller, more toxic petro-polymers . These contaminants poison our soil and water and then enter our food chain. (Like we need more toxic chemicals in our food!)
In a world where it seems the problem is too big, it’s easy to wonder if one person can make a difference. But yes, YOU can.If we trade out our plastic bags for reusable cloth bags .