Monday, October 15, 2007 is Blog Action Day. Thousands of bloggers across the world will all be writing on Environmental issues today.
Plastic Bags: Amazing Consumption
“According to the EPA, over 380 billion plastic bags, sacks and wraps are consumed in the U.S. each year.”
That’s a lot of bags. So what happens to them all?
Where They End Up
“Besides littering our urban areas, plastic bags are carried by wind and ocean currents to once pristine areas of the earth, choking wildlife that mistake them for food. Plastic bag litter has become such an environmental dilemma that some countries like Taiwan, Bangladesh and South Africa now prohibit the flimsy bags. “
But Don’t They Degrade?
“Once in the environment, it takes months to hundreds of years for plastic bags to breakdown. As they decompose, tiny toxic bits seep into soils, lakes, rivers, and the oceans.”
Hundreds of years. And if they’re tiny toxic bits in our water supply…doesn’t that mean we’ll be eating them? Yes. But we’re not the only ones.
Plastic And Sea Critters
“Over 100,000 birds and marine life die each year, due to an encounter with plastic debris, much of it plastic bags.”
That’s a lot of dead animals.
But it gets worse…
The Plastic Mass in the Pacific
“There are two floating islands of plastic bags in the Pacific Ocean, each the size of Texas.”
Think about the size of that…and two of them. Just sitting out there in the ocean.
But What Can I Do?
The easiest thing to do is to insist that you are given less bags. Make the baggers put more than one item in a bag. Recycle the bags (although be careful about this, because sometimes “recycling” bins are just dumped into the trash).
If you’re really serious, buy or make your own shopping bags. Depending on where you shop, you will either get questioned why you want your own, or congratulated outright. I carry my own, and after I explain that I am going plastic bag free, most people are really into it. I converted old sheets into a plethora of bags, and bought some string bags. Very easy.