Plastic bags really bother me. I can’t help but feel a little ticked off every time I see a grocery store clerk use them for groceries. Plastic bags are no longer ‘cool’ folks. They are becoming ‘old news’. So many cities are banning the use of plastic bags in grocery stores, so why don’t all cities ban plastic bags?
Why do I detest plastic bags so much?
Well, here are some statistics.
Global consumption of plastic bags is over 500 billion plastic bags annually. Yes that’s 500,000,000,000 plastic bags used per year. In other words, that’s almost 1 million plastic bags used per minute.
Some environmental groups have estimated that up to 1 trillion plastic bags are used worldwide each year. That’s insane!
Where do all of those plastic bags go?
Most plastic bags end up in landfills or become litter which end up making a horrible impact on our wildlife, both marine and in rural areas.
Tens of thousands of whales, birds, seals and turtles are killed every year from plastic bag litter in the marine environment as they often mistake plastic bags for food such as jellyfish.
Plastic bags, once ingested, cannot be digested or passed by an animal so it stays in the gut. Plastic in an animal’s gut can prevent food digestion and can lead to a very slow and painful death.
As plastic bags can take up to 1,000 years to break down, once an animal dies and decays after ingesting plastic, the plastic is then freed back into the marine environment to carry on killing other wildlife.
So, back to my original question… why don’t all cities ban plastic bags? Los Angeles is the latest city to ban plastic bags in grocery stores. They join a large world wide list of cities who have done the same.
I’ve asked some grocery store managers why they don’t ban plastic bags and the main reason is….. “Our customers like the convenience of the plastic bag.”
Ok, so for a 30 second convenience of carrying your groceries to the car and another 30 seconds of carrying them to your house from your car, an animal has to suffer a horrible, slow, painful death because they mistakenly ate it or perhaps the bag ended up strangling them or getting caught in a bird’s wings etc. Ok, yes I am being dramatic, but these types of animal deaths happen every day.
Hmmmmmmm….. does this sit well with you? It doesn’t with me, that’s for sure. Especially since there are other options for us humans and they are called “Reusable Bags”. They are everywhere!
What about Paper Bags?
Paper bags are an option and have been touted as an environmentally-friendly and even “green” alternative to plastic bags. Many people feel better using a paper bag because they believe it will degrade faster than plastic and not harm the environment.
However paper bags generate more air and water pollution and require more energy to produce than plastic bags. The bags also take longer to degrade and take up more space in landfills.
Unlike polyethylene bags, paper bags will eventually break down, so the best option is to use reusable cloth shopping bags.
Please take a moment to put those reusable shopping bags in your car and make it a new routine to use them every time you go shopping. Put a few small ones in your purse.
If all grocery stores ban plastic bags, yes, there will be complaints, but humans adapt. We need our groceries. And hey Costco don’t give their customers bags of any kind of bags and their customers seem to be just fine with that.
Thank you for reading my rant about plastic bags.
Remember we are sharing this beautiful planet with the world’s creatures. Let’s not be parasites and continue to destroy it. By not using plastic bags, you will be making a difference.