According to Reusablebags.com, an estimated 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags are used, and discarded, annually worldwide. That’s a lot of plastic. Thankfully, for many of us, using plastic bags is becoming a thing of the past. Committing to use reusable bags is a simple, small change that will make a big impact on our environment. Reusable bags come in all shapes, sizes and colors; displaying advertisements and statements supporting eco-conscious choices. My favorite reusable bags come in a small size and fit nicely in my purse. I’m almost guaranteed to remember them!
Have you ever thought about the reasons behind why you should use reusable shopping bags? Here are a few plastic bag facts to help you stick with reusables:
- According to the Wall Street Journal, only 1% of plastic bags are recycled worldwide; the rest are left to live on indefinitely in landfills (or worse, in the environment).
- Plastic bags don’t biodegrade and can instead photo-degrade and dissolve into toxic particles. Most often, when this happens, it happens in the ocean. Toxic particles can enter the food chain when they are ingested by unsuspecting animals.
- An estimated one million birds and 100,000 turtles and other sea animals die of starvation each year after ingesting discarded plastic bags. Other animals or birds become entangled in plastic bags and drown or can’t fly as a result.
- The United Nations Environment Program estimates that there are 46,000 pieces of plastic litter floating in every square mile of ocean.
- The cost to recycle plastic bags so outweighs their value that most recycling facilities will not take them, leading more and more to just be thrown out with the rest of the trash.
- It takes 12 million barrels of oil to produce the amount of plastic bags the US uses per year.
- The average reusable bag has the lifespan of over seven hundred disposable plastic bags.
Bottom line: Single-use plastic bags pose a huge threat to the environment. Now’s the time spread the word and pledge to use reusable bags for everything! Since they come in all shapes and sizes it’s relatively simple to keep them on-hand. The key is to remember them.
What’s your trick for remembering your reusable bags?
Plastic bag facts source: Protect Your Central Coast
Lori Popkewitz Alper is the founder and editor-in-chief of Groovy Green Livin, a site dedicated to sharing simple green living tips and current information on sustainable living with individuals, families, schools and businesses. Lori uses Groovy Green Livin as a platform to create awareness, dialog and debate surrounding advocacy for healthy environments without harmful chemicals.
A contributing writer for multiple blogs and websites, Lori speaks, writes and advises on a variety of issues related to creating a greener lifestyle.
Lori is a green living educator, social media consultant, freelancer, blogger, borderline vegan and recovering attorney. She lives in the Greater Boston area with her three sons, chocolate lab and groovy husband.
In her free time she can be found practicing yoga, pitching a baseball, running, cycling, skiing, reading, cooking, or trying out a new eco-friendly product.