At the grocery store when the bagger asks “paper or plastic” what is your response? In the past, mine has always been plastic, it saves trees. Right?
Wrong! Recently, I learned that plastic bags are polluting our environment and contributing to our dependence on foreign oil. In the U.S. alone, an estimated 12 million barrels of oil are used annually to make the plastic bags that Americans use. The United States International Trade Commission reported that 102 billion plastic bags were used in the U.S. in 2009. These bags often wind up in waterways or on landscape, becoming eyesores or degrading water and soil as they break down into small, toxic bits. The manufacture, transportation and disposal of plastic bags use large quantities of non-renewable resources and release equally large amounts of global-warming gases. Ecologically, hundreds of thousands of marine animals die every year when they eat the small plastic bits mistaken for food.
Governments around the world have taken action to ban or restrict the use of plastic bags. In 2008, China banned the use of ultra-thin plastic bags. It has been estimated that this one change eliminated 40 billion bags just in the first year. Ireland placed a fee on plastic bags and reportedly reduced consumption by 90%.
Cities and towns all over the U.S. are rising to the challenge and standing up to the oil, gas and plastic industries. The EAS+Y group will soon be spearheading an initiative to take all plastic bags out of the grocery stores in Evergreen and Conifer. Please take a moment and buy some re-useable shopping bags for your grocery shopping. They are convenient, can show off your personality, and most importantly save our earth. You can purchase reusable grocery bags at all major grocery stores.