One of the things I am going to do this year in honor of Earth Day is to not use ANY plastic bags from stores! A couple of months ago Clean Eating Magazine talked about how the average plastic bag gets used for about 10 minutes before it is discarded. The following is an excerpt from an article from www.alternet.org that I thought was worth sharing on this Earth Day.
A global problem
According to Vincent Coob, founder of reusablebags.com, about 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags are used worldwide every year and are causing a global epidemic. The enormous demand for plastic bags ties into the surging global demand for oil — plastic bags are made from ethylene, a petroleum byproduct. In the United States alone, an estimated 12 million barrels of oil is used annually to make plastic bags that Americans consume.
“Eliminating the use of disposable plastic bags is about more than just the environment,” said Barger, “it is about health, sustainability, economics and focusing on what kind of quality of life we want.”
A growing list of communities and countries are beginning to rethink their dependence on plastic bags. Already a complete or partial ban on the bags has been approved in Australia, South Africa, parts of India, China, Italy, Bangladesh and Taiwan.
Africa has seen an increasing problem with bags as Environmental News Network reports, “South Africa was once producing 7 billion bags a year; Somaliland residents became so used to them they renamed them “flowers of Hargeisa” after their capital; and Kenya not so long ago churned out about 4,000 tons of polythene bags a month.”
In Asia, the bags were banned in 2002 in Bangladesh after they were considered to be major factors in blocking sewers and drains and contributing to the severe flooding that devastated the country in 1988 and 1998.
Taking a different route, in 2002, Ireland imposed a 15-cent tax on bags, which led to a rapid 90 percent reduction in use. Ireland uses the tax to help fund other environmental initiatives. Bags are also taxed in Sweden and Germany, and are set to be banned outright in Paris this year.
In the United States, Californians Against Waste estimate that Americans consume 84 billion plastic bags annually. The United States has been slow out of the gate in addressing the growing problem with plastic, but recently momentum has started for positive change.
Currently 30 rural Alaskan villages and towns have banned plastic bags. And in March the city of San Francisco became the first major municipality to ban the use of plastic bags, and nearby Oakland has followed suit, but not without controversy and litigation from industry groups.
Californians themselves discard about 19 billion bags each year. Over the years a growing coalition of environmental and consumer groups have been pushing for the state to take action.
This summer their work resulted in the passage of Assembly Bill 2449, which requires all supermarkets, pharmacies and other large retail stores to provide bins to help consumers recycle.
While this is a step in the right direction, many who have been aggressive on the issue, see the law as a disappointment. “It is basically just fluff — most big stores already have the recycling bins,” said Barger.
It really gets you thinking just what the impact is if ONE FAMILY lessened their dependence on plastic bags!
So, for anyone who leaves a comment, you will get a CHANCE to win 5 recycled bags for groceries/shopping!!!
Are you going to try to do something more EARTH friendly this year??