like taking your own bag to the store could make such a huge
difference. I knew the difference was big but when I started to
research the subject and learned it's a much bigger difference than I
ever could have guessed.
Studies show 500 billion to 1
trillion plastic bags are wasted every year! 100 billion of those are
from the U.S. On average each person uses 500 bags a year.
harsh economics behind bag recycling: It costs $4,000 to process and
recycle 1 ton of plastic bags, which can then be sold on the
commodities market for $32.” Jared Blumenfeld, Director of San
Francisco’s Department of the Environment
Can you believe that?!
Now you know a large reason why only 1% of bags are recycled each year.
So since they are largely not recycled what happens to the bags?
study in 1975 showed oceangoing vessels dumped 8 million pounds of
plastic annually. The real reason that the world’s landfills weren’t
overflowing with plastic was because most of it ended up in an
ocean-fill…” U.S. National Academy of Sciences
“Plastic bags account for over 10% of the debris washed up on the U.S. coastline.” National Marine Debris Monitoring Program
plastic “stew”, twice the size of Texas, has formed in the Pacific
Ocean. Scientist have dubbed it the “Eastern Garbage Patch”, and its
volume is growing at an alarming pace.” Best Life Magazine, February
What does that mean for you? Well plastic bags never
biodegrade, they photodegrade. Photodegrading means that overtime they
break down in to smaller and more toxic pieces.
Those pieces now
out number plankton 6 to 1. Since fish eat those plankton they are now
eating plastic and you are still eating them. So you are eating
to the World Wildlife Fund, nearly 200 different species of sea life
including whales, dolphins, seals and turtles die due to plastic bags.
But it's not just sea life that is dying, more than a million birds die
every year from getting trapped in plastic bags!
What about the
making of a plastic bag? 100 million bags take around 12 million
barrels of oil to make. We are so worried about how much oil our cars
our using but we need to look in more places, like plastics.
"China will save 37 million barrels of oil each year due to their ban of free plastic bags." –CNN.com/asia January 9, 2008
to the brighter news, there is something to be done about this. If just
one out of five people in the US used a reusable bag we would eliminate
1,330,560,000,000 plastic bags in a lifetime! That's a lot of bags and
a lot of oil.
Reusable bags come in all shapes and styles, so no
saying you can't find one you like. They don't cost a lot either. Most
stores now carry bags for only $1.
Another reason I hear for not
using them is forgetting them. I have done this a few times, only to
leave the store with an arm load of items or worse yet a bag. But this
is another problem that is easy to fix. There are many bags that fit
great in your purse, car, on your key chain or even in your pocket! I
always have at least one in my purse.
And have no fear guys! There are lots of bags out there for you. Acme bags are one that is well liked for men. Other companies like Baggu, Envirosax,
and others make many solid colored bags in manly colors. I'm reviewing
one right now that folds in to a ball which my husband has stolen and
played with a few times already.
So what to do with those bags you already have laying around?
can make plarn and knit with them. You can use them to replace trash
bags so at least you aren't having to buy new plastic. Knee pads for
that organic garden. Who knows what other uses you can find but that
will have to be another post.
Also check out reusablebags.com for tons of great reusable bags, including many of the bags above.
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