by Patricia Murphy, Conservation
Do You Know the Dangers of plastic bags?
Single-use bags, both paper and plastic, represent a huge threat to the environment. This threat is not only related to the sheer volume of them ending up in landfill, but also to the resources needed to produce, transport and (occasionally) recycle them, and the emissions resulting from these processes. Single-use plastic bags are also well known for their interference in ecosystems and the part they play in flood events, where they clog pipes and drains.
Plastic bag facts:
- Approx. 380 billion plastic bags are used in the United States every year. That’s more than 1,200 bags per US resident, per year.
- Approx. 100 billion of the 380 billion are plastic shopping bags.
- An estimated 12 million barrels of oil is required to make that many plastic bags.
- Only 1 to 2% of plastic bags in the USA end up getting recycled.
- Thousands of marine animals and more than 1 million birds die each year as a result of plastic pollution.
- The United Nations Environment Programme estimates that there are 46,000 pieces of plastic litter floating in every square mile of ocean.
- Plastic bags are often mistakenly ingested by animals, clogging their intestines which results in death by starvation. Other animals or birds become entangled in plastic bags and drown or can’t fly as a result.
- Even when they photo-degrade in landfill, the plastic from single-use bags never goes away, and toxic particles can enter the food chain when they are ingested by unsuspecting animals.
- Greenpeace says that at least 267 marine species are known to have suffered from getting entangled in or ingesting marine debris. Nearly 90% of that debris is plastic.
What can you do?
Discontinue use of plastic shopping bags. Use canvas or reusable bags when you shop. Recycle existing bags at your local grocery or retail store. DO NOT place them in recycling bins for curbside pickup. Hillsborough & Pasco county DO NOT accept grocery bags or Pizza Boxes for recycling. All we can ask you to do is your best. If we work together we can have an impact. It just takes 1 of us to make tomorrow a better day.
Uses for plastic bags
Check out Real Simple’s 10 smart uses for plastic bags article..
Don’t forget Hillsborough & Pasco County
DO NOT recycle shopping bags as part of the curbside recycling program.
Please reuse and recycle at your local grocery or retail outlet.
For more information or questions please email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org