Thursday, November 5, 2009

Still Using Plastic Bags?

Did you know that the current rate of plastic bags used and discarded is 1 million per minute?

Each one of these bags takes 450 years to photodegrade, and they do this by breaking down into smaller and smaller toxic bits, which contaminate soil and waterways, and become accidentally ingested by animals, thus entering into the food web.

One very simple, and even fashionable, way to reduce the number of plastic bags used per minute, and per year is to purchase a reusable bag.

Local chain stores such as Whole Foods and Trader Joe's offer colorful, reusable grocery bags, some that are made of recycled materials to some that are insulated to keep cold items from melting or defrosting if you have a long trek home, and even high-end reusable totes are being offered by companies such as Gracen, who sell their product in sets of two for prices that far out cost the grocery chain prices.

Another option for those who like to travel light, or may be prone to forgetting their reusable bag is the Chico Bag, which fits into a small, lightweight pouch that can be stored in your car, purse, or can even be personalized for company fundraisers or stocking stuffers.

If you're still not convinced that bringing your own reusable bag to the store every time you shop, whether it be for groceries or clothing, check out these facts provided by

  • Single-use bags made of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) are the main culprit. Once brought into existence to tote your purchases, they will accumulate and persist on our planet for up to 1,000 years.
  • In 2001, Ireland used 1.2 billion disposable plastic bags, or 316 per person. An extremely successful plastic bag tax, or PlasTax, introduced in 2002 reduced consumption by 90%.
  • According to The Wall Street Journal, the U.S. goes through 100 billion plastic shopping bags annually. An estimated 12 million barrels of oil is required to make that many plastic bags.
  • Plastic bags cause over 100,000 sea turtle and other marine animal deaths every year when animals mistake them for food.
  • Each high-quality reusable bag you use has the potential to eliminate an average of 1,000 plastic bags over its lifetime. The bag will pay for itself if your grocery store offers a credit for bringing your own bags.
  • Windblown plastic bags are so prevalent in Africa that a cottage industry has sprung up harvesting bags and using them to weave hats, and even bags. According to the BBC one group harvests 30,000 per month.

No comments:

the green home

yahoo! green




ecorazzi :: the latest in green gossip

earth 911

auto blog green

the oil drum