Monday, March 18, 2013

One Bag at a Time

My pet peeve is plastic bags that grocery stores, home improvement and hardware stores, and everybody in between so generously give and we accept (most of the time).  How many times have we not picked up plastic bags along road sides and even in our own yards?  The plastic bags blow away, or are tossed out, and they are so easily blown off the garbage trucks.

Where do some of the plastic bags end up if not in ditches and waterways where all sorts of fish, water animals, and birds get tangled up in them?  Have you noticed how similar a plastic bag looks to a jelly fish?  Some fish, fowl, and animals eat the bags mistaking them for food and have no way to escape but through a horrible death.

Veteran journalist Bill Moyers hosted a program on PBS the other night where an artist showed his work using plastic to make a statement of the beauty and the ugliness of plastic bags.  I was curious about how many bags consumers use and I looked it up on the Internet.  Here are some of the staggering statistics:

Total number of plastic bags used worldwide annually--1 trillion
Total number of plastic bags used every minute--1 million
Average amount of plastic bags consumed per family in 4 trips to the grocery store--60
Total amount of plastic bags used by US citizens every year--100 billion
Percent of household waste that is plastic--11%

Check out the plastic bag statistics on the Internet and you'll find out how long it will take for a plastic bag to decompose.  Here are a few simple and easy ways to reduce the plastic bag consumption:

1.  Instead of bagging the garden and yard debris, put it in a reusable container for the sanitation workers to empty and return to you.

2,  Handsome reusable (cloth, nylon) bags are readily available in the stores that have your business.  They are washable and last a long time.

3.  When you have too many plastic bags, take them to just about any store to be recycled.

Remember, we are saving the environment one bag at a time.

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