Plastic Bag Overload

   06.03.15

Plastic Bag Overload

Next time you’re in a grocery store and the clerk asks if you want your merchandise placed in a plastic or paper bag, you might want to choose paper, because plastic bags have a pretty unsettling grip on the world.

Consider the following facts:

The U.S. EPA shows that between 500 billion and 1 trillion plastic bags are used worldwide annually; 100 billion annually in the U.S.

Less than one percent of plastic bags are recycled, because it costs much more to recycle a bag than to produce a new one.

The U.S. Academy of Sciences reports that 8 million pounds of plastic is annually dumped in the ocean; and most landfills are not full of plastic bags because they usually end up in the ocean.

Plastic bags have blown and floated around worldwide to places as remote as the Arctic Circle and near Antarctica.

Plastic bags make up 10 percent of debris washed onto U.S. coasts.

Plastic bags are devastating to wildlife, killing everything from turtles to dolphins, fish to birds, with nearly 200 different species documented dying from plastic bags.

Plastic shopping bags are made from polyethylene, a thermoplastic oil product.  Some cities and countries are banning the use of bags, with reusable cloth bags preferred.  China has banned plastic shopping bags, and for that reason will save nearly 40 million barrels of oil this year.

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