5 Major Reasons to Ban Plastic Bags
Plastic bags are more practical than paper in many ways. They tend to be more durable (especially when wet), they take up less space in your cupboard (if you save them), and they can be reused more often. And yet, you’d be better off to reject them completely!
Despite their many uses around the house (to pick up pet messes, hold dirty sneakers, and keep your meats from leaking in the fridge, just to name a few potential uses), plastic bags will eventually end up causing harm, in a number of big ways (to the environment, for sure, and possibly to your family).
Every year we throw away close to 100 billion plastic bags! So if you’re looking for some solid reasons to make the switch to the reusable tote bags, offered at many grocery stores, here are a few that may change your mind.
1. Loading the landfills.
No matter how many uses you find for plastic bags, they are eventually going to end up in the landfill, where they will remain for quite a while (roughly a thousand years), taking up space, because they aren’t biodegradable. Paper bags are no picnic either (denuding the forest as they do), but at least they will eventually degrade if you throw them away. By selecting reusable bags, you won’t have to face any of these problems. And by the way, you can also use these totes when you do other types of shopping.
2. Non-renewable resources
Most plastic bags are made of polyurethane, a composite created from such non-renewable components as natural gas and crude oil. Harvesting these resources is not only harmful to the planet (through mining practices), but it also depletes valuable natural resources that we can never get back (and that could be put to better use).
3. Harmful to animals
Many plastic bags find their way out into the world. Once you throw them in the trash, you don’t have any control over where they go, but you can stop them from getting out into the environment where they can cause harm to whatever ecosystem they end up in. In case you’re wondering how plastic bags can possibly hurt animals, be assured there are several ways. Both land and marine animals suffer from strangulation, choking, and entanglement by plastic bags, whether because they blunder into them and become trapped or because they try to eat them. It is estimated that approximately 100,000 sea animals die each year from plastic bags and they are amongst the top five most common types of refuse found on beaches. Do you have pets? They could be in danger, as well.
4. Harmful to people
If you have children, you should be aware that plastic bags need to be kept away from your tots because they pose a hazard for choking and suffocation. In fact, dozens of cases of suffocation from plastic bags are reported each year.
5. Who recycles?
Although it’s true that plastic bags can be recycled, and many markets have bins for customers to recycle their used bags, the unfortunate truth of the situation is that only about 1 percent of plastic bags are recycled worldwide — about 2 percent in the U.S. Despite your best intentions, the odds are against you actually bringing your bags to be recycled. Make your life easier by taking plastic bags out of the equation. The benefits to you and the environment will be multifold.