Mar 3, 2016

Why do we worry about plastic bags?

Why Do We Worry About Plastic Bags

There are a number of reasons why plastic bags are the focus of so much ire. For some, it is the volume of plastic bags. The Earth Policy Institute states that we use roughly one trillion single use plastic bags every year...that equates to 2 million each minute!  Others feel our ubiquitous use of plastic bags is a symptom of our disposable culture. They use plastic bags to highlight how far the pendulum has swung towards disposable items.

Photo by Siike Baron Daisy Eating a Plastic Bag
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For many others however it is the environmental impact that they are most concerned with. Plastic bags are made from oil and natural gas, neither of which are renewable resources. According to the Earth Policy Institute the energy it takes to make 12 bags would drive a car one mile. Combining that with the above statistic the amount of energy spent on making plastic bags would drive a car around the circumference of the earth more than 3,000 times!

Finally, plastic bags never fully break down or decompose. Plastic just becomes broken down into smaller and smaller pieces. This is a concern for wildlife in that many consume the bits of plastic mistaking them for food. They cannot digest the plastic and may ultimately die. Animals Australia estimates that more than 100,000 turtles, whales, seals, sea birds, and other animals die each year from ingesting or becoming entangled in plastics. They also estimate that there are 46,000 pieces of plastic floating in each square mile of the world’s oceans.
Pin to help spread the word about the dangers of plastic bags!
Some of the dangers of plastic bags.

While plastic bags can be recycled in theory it is thought that 97% or more are not recycled. Many times plastic bags are excluded from curbside recycling. However many stores have collection boxes in their entry way to collect used plastic bags for recycling. The bags are recycled into composite lumber or to make new bags. If you happen to get a plastic bag, be sure to recycle it, but better yet take the #SkipTheBag challenge.


  1. It's so hard seeing that picture. I try as much as I can to reuse the plastic bags I get but it is hard for me not to bring them home. I need to try harder!

    1. You can do it! I found I've used them more now that I have one that fits rolled up in my purse so I always have it with me.

  2. It is so sad to think how much damage plastic bags (and plastic as a while) has inflicted on our planet in such a short space of time. I did read that since the UK ban on supermarkets giving away free plastic bags that numbers littering the countryside have greatly decreased. It is a step in the right direction but we need to do so much more.

    I would love it if you would link up a post in my next #GoingGreenLinky which open on Jan 1st. I am hoping to see some posts about Green New Year Resolutions.

    1. I love the idea of Green New Year Resolutions. Awesome idea! I'll check out the linkup. Thanks.