The Plastic Bag Problem

I have to confess that I like the convenience of using plastic bags.  You know the ones that all the stores use because they are cheap, light weight, and did I mention that they are cheap. 

I love them because I can carry more than one or two bags a the same time.  I try to justify my being able to use them because I do reuse them.  I use them to line the waste paper baskets in my bathrooms and I also use them when I scoop out the poop in my kitties potty box.  So I don’t really feel too, too bad about using them but they are really bad for the environment.  

Plastic bags and other waste are polluting the world's oceans

Plastic bags and other waste are polluting the world's oceans

It was after I saw a show on Oprah about The Great Pacific Garbage Patchthat I realized just how big of a problem plastic bags are for our environment.

I know that I will continue to use plastic bags.  Mainly because I haven’t found another way to transport the poop from my kitties potty box to the garbage can safely.  If I come up with a way or you have any ideas, please share because I am sure that I am not the only cat owner who uses plastic bags to scoop the poop.

Here are some more facts about plastic bags that support the need to do something about them.

5 Disturbing Facts About Plastic Bags

Author: Janice Tham

The other day, when I went shopping for groceries, I was asked to pay for the plastic bags used to carry my purchases. I was appalled. That happened to be bring your own bag day. Many customers walked off in a huff that day. We tend to take for granted the plastic bags stores usually give their customers for free.

On hindsight, the stores which tried to get customers to bring their own bags rather than use the stores plastic bags were doing the environment a favor. Even if it meant offending their customers.

Plastic bags are among the modern conveniences that are insidiously destroying our world. They use up the earth’s precious resources, kill the wildlife and pollute our world.

1. Plastic bags require petroleum to produce.

We are already short of petrol. Mankind has been draining off the earth’s precious resource to its breaking point. Petroleum is critical for our modern life. Petrol is needed for energy. Computers, lighting, heating, transport, factories… the world as we know it today will grind to a halt if our supply of petroleum is turned off. Why are we wasting this precious resource by making plastic bags?

2. At least 100,000 animals like penguins, whales, turtles and dolphins die each year because of plastic bags.

Many animals mistake plastic bags for food and die as they ingest these bags. After the the animal dies and decomposes, the plastic bag stays intact. It litters the landscape and awaits its next victim.

Plastic bags kill wildlife. That would further upset the balance of nature.

3. Plastic bags form 20% of the litter found on beaches.

Besides killing wildlife and wasting petrol, plastic bags destroy the natural beauty of our world’s beaches. Imagine going to your favorite beach. Once, it was unspoiled. You could clear blue sea for miles out there. The sand was white, or like gold in the sun. Birds were flying around. Now, you see litter everywhere. Thanks to inconsiderate humans who dump there cans and plastic bags all over the coastline.

4. In USA alone, 100 billion plastic bags are used every year. How about China, India, Europe and the rest of the world. The numbers are staggering.

5. The problem doesn’t end here. These billions of bags are not bio-degradable. It takes 1000 years before a plastic bag starts to decompose. That compounds the problem drastically.

So what can you do about it?

We have become so dependent on these convenient one-use bags it is hard to imagine life without them.

Let’s start with baby steps.

Get a tote bag like one of these at http://www.bagsmall.com/tote-bags.htm to hold your shopping. Tell the cashier to keep the bags and put your purchases directly in your tote instead. Keep your receipt carefully as proof of your purchase.

Recycle your existing plastic bags. You can use them to hold the garbage instead of buying additional garbage bags.

I’m sure you can think of other ways to reduce your use of plastic bags. A little effort will go a long way.

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