February 24, 2016 – The most common packing material used in the majority of supermarkets and grocery stores today is the plastic bag. In the US alone, Americans throw away about 1 billion plastic bags annually. If you think the extreme production of plastic bags is unfortunate, you’ll be surprised at the amount of plastic bags that get reused or recycled. Sadly, only a fraction of the billions of plastic bags thrown away are recycled. The most relevant follow up question to this is: ‘where do the other plastic bags go?’
The biggest problem with plastic bags is that it is not biodegradable. While this may be common knowledge, most people still do not understand the severity of this issue and the problems it might cause if people continue to use and produce such materials. Since they do not degrade easily, constant production and manufacturing would only increase the number of plastic bags in the world without ever really finding a suitable way to dispose of them. As they increase, they add further risks to the environment and to various wildlife and even people. Plastic bags can clog storm drains, float in waterways and spoil the landscape. If things go well, they would be taken to landfills where they would have to wait for one thousand years before they can break down into smaller particles. Plastic bags are highly pollutant to soil and water.
They pose serious dangers to birds and marine animals because they are often times mistaken for food. For example, floating plastic bags in the ocean would appear similar to a jellyfish, a favorite prey for sea turtles. When sea turtles consume these plastic bags, they could ultimately clog up their intestines and die. Danger isn’t exclusive to sea turtles alone. Thousands of animals die each year because of plastic bags.
The production of plastic bags alone is deemed wasteful. They consume too much petroleum, a non-renewable resource, which could be used for other more beneficial purposes.
There are better alternatives to plastic bags such as Paper Mart paper bags or even reusable bags often made of cloth. If you want to help the world, you should make the change now.