The ugly truth about our plastic bag that being introduced just over 25 years ago. Society's consumption rate is now estimated at well over 500,000,000,000 (that's 500 billion) plastic bags annually, or almost 1 million per minute! Read on these cold-hard facts...
1. Single-use bags made of high-density polyethlene (HDPE) are the main culprit. Once brought into existence to tote your purchases, they'll accumulate & persist on our planet for up to 1,000 years.
2. Plastic bags cause over 100,000 sea turtle & other marine animal deaths every year when animals mistake them for food.
3. The average family accumulate 60 plastic bags in only four trips to the grocery store.
4. A plastic shopping bag can take anywhere from 15 to 1000 years to decompose. In a compressed landfill, deprived of atmosphere to help them biodegrade, paper bags don't fare much better.
5. According to the Wall Street Journal, only 1% plastic bags are recycled worldwide, the rest are left to live on indefinitely in landfills.
6. The cost to recycle plastic bags so outweighs their value that most recycling facilities will not take them, leading more & more to just be thrown out with the rest of the trash.
7. Made from petroleum products and natural gas, plastic bags utilize non-renewable resources, ultimately helping to drive up fuel prices!
8. It takes 12 million barrels of oil to produce the amount of plastic bags the US uses per year.
9. Think paper bags are better? The United States cuts down 14 million trees per year simply to supply the demand for paper shopping bags!
10. It requires 13% more energy to produce 1 single paper bag than to produce 2 plastic bags.
11. Made with chemical processed at high temperatures, paper bag production releases many toxins into the atmosphere at much the same rate as plastic production.
12. Paper bags weigh nearly 10 times their counterparts in plastic, requiring more fuel to ship them out to stores.
Awareness evolved, some countries has made a move!
1. Ireland, the first European country to impose a tax on them, has decreased plastic shopping bag consumption by 90% since 2002, reducing overall plastic bag usage by 1.08 billion. That is 90% reduced consumption.
2. In a dramatic move to stem a tide of 60,000 metric tons of plastic bag & plastic utensil waste per year, Taiwan banned both last year.
3. Windblown plastic bags are so prevalent in Africa that a cottage industry has sprung up harvesting bags & using them to weave hats & even bags. According to the BBC, one group harvests 30,000 per month.
4. Some grocery store (like Tesco) even offer discounts or points credit for customers who bring their own bags, now that's incentive!
Lastly, it takes one small step to make a significant impact as a whole! Over a lifetime, use of reusable bags by just one person, would save over 22,000 plastics bags. Isn't it that better incentive?