How are you this fine Monday afternoon?!
I’m doing quite well today actually. Didn’t wake up as early as I would have liked but I did better than recent weeks.
Yesterday I did some grocery shopping and I’ve had something on mind since. Single use plastic bags.
You see, yesterday before leaving my house I walked to my pantry to pick up my reusable grocery bags when I remembered I wasn’t supposed to take them with me that day. Here is why:
Although I love using my reusable grocery bags when I go shopping I have to admit I’m not ready to wage war on single use bags just yet.
I know the hardship they cause on our planet and I do my best to always remember my reusable bags but I have honestly never considered them single use and didn’t realize most people did.
My mom would never throw these bags away, she would even take a extras when grocery shopping. Why? Well, because otherwise she’d have to spend money on garbage bags. Why spend money on garbage bags when you can get them for free, right?
We always had a use for “single use” bags at our house and I do at my own house now. I use them in every trash can in every room.
When I first heard of the damage they cause our planet I banned them from my house. I used up what I had stored and made it a goal to not bring any more home. I am embarrassed to admit the following but for a few weeks I didn’t use any plastic bags for our trash. I simply put it all in the trash bin.
Two problems with this. One, I didn’t realize we weren’t supposed to do that. The trash bins state that you should always bag your trash for sanitary reasons at the dump. Okay, I get that. But then I thought of problem number two; plastic tears. So, wouldn’t your trash end up out of the plastic bag anyway??
If we are supposed to bag our trash then what is the difference from reusing our free “single use” plastic bags than buying plastic bags at the grocery store??
This is where MY debate with plastic bags lies. Trash! To bag or not to bag? That is my question.
This isn’t to say that I don’t use my reusable bags. In fact I use them for 98% of my trips to the grocery store. The only time I don’t use them is when I have run out of “single use” garbage bags at home.
Sometimes being environmentally friendly is overwhelming, I’ll have more on why that is next week. But for now I’d like to get your opinion on the subject. Where do you stand on the single use plastic bag debate?? Should we ban them forever, use in moderation, or worry about more important issues??
Before you form your opinion keep the following in mind:
- Approx. 380 billion plastic bags are used in the United States every year. That’s more than 1,200 bags per US resident, per year.
- Approx. 100 billion of the 380 billion are plastic shopping bags.
- An estimated 12 million barrels of oil is required to make that many plastic bags.
- Only 1 to 2% of plastic bags in the USA end up getting recycled.
- Thousands of marine animals and more than 1 million birds die each year as a result of plastic pollution.
- The United Nations Environment Programme estimates that there are 46,000 pieces of plastic litter floating in every square mile of ocean.
- Plastic bags are often mistakenly ingested by animals, clogging their intestines which results in death by starvation. Other animals or birds become entangled in plastic bags and drown or can’t fly as a result.
- Even when they photo-degrade in landfill, the plastic from single-use bags never goes away, and toxic particles can enter the food chain when they are ingested by unsuspecting animals.
- Greenpeace says that at least 267 marine species are known to have suffered from getting entangled in or ingesting marine debris. Nearly 90% of that debris is plastic.
- Americans consume more than 10 billion paper bags per year. Approximately 14 million trees are cut down every year for paper bag production.
- Most of the pulp used for paper shopping bags is virgin pulp, as it is considered stronger.
- Paper production requires hundreds of thousands of gallons of water as well as toxic chemicals like sulfurous acid, which can lead to acid rain and water pollution.
Let me know what you think!