We use plastic bags for everything, from carrying our groceries to bagging trash. In the US, it's estimated that we use 60,000 plastic bags every five seconds and most of these are thrown away. Plastic bags are everywhere, including many places where we don't want them - at the beach, in trees, in street gutters. While they are significantly cheaper to produce than other kinds of bags (like paper), only a small percentage gets recycled.
Where do all the plastic bags end up, and at what cost to the environment?
Plastics do not biodegrade. They break down into tiny fragments that can contaminate our soil and water. When plastic bags get loose in our environment, they become the eyesore that we are all so familiar with, clinging to trees and fences and littering our landscapes. Even worse is the danger they pose to marine animals, which can ingest them and become entangled in the plastic debris. Plastics even show up in animal autopsies, especially in critically endangered turtle populations and in whales!
What can we do about the plastic pollution crisis?
The good news is there is a lot you can do. Check out the Bag It website and while you're there watch the Bag It movie. They worked with Surfrider to come up with some great ideas about how you can make your community a Bag It Town - municipalities that reduce the use of plastic bags.
Now is the time to put a stop to the massive consumption of single-use, disposable plastics in your community. Remember, choosing to use a plastic bag is just one of the choices you make when you go food shopping, and bringing a reusable tote bag with you is one way to reduce the environmental impact associated with your food-related choices.
Take action! Go to the Bag It site and find ideas and resources to help you make your city or town a Bag It Town.