Data released by the United States Environmental Protection Agency shows that somewhere between 500 billion and a trillion plastic bags are consumed worldwide each year.
National Geographic News September 2, 2003
Less than 1% of bags are recycled. It cost more to recycle a bag than to produce a new one.
“There's harsh economics behind bag recycling: It costs $4,000 to process and recycle 1 ton of plastic bags, which can then be sold on the commodities market for $32”
- Jared Blumenfeld
(Director of San Francisco's Department of the Environment)
Where Do They Go?
A study in 1975, showed oceangoing vessels together dumped 8 million pounds of plastic annually. The real reason that the world's landfills weren't overflowing with plastic was because most of it ended up in an ocean-fill
Bags get blown around…
…to different parts of our lands
…and to our seas, lakes and rivers.
Bags find their way into the sea via drains and sewage pipes
Plastic bags have been found floating north of the Arctic Circle near Spitzbergen, and as far south as the Falkland Islands
Plastic bags account for over 10 percent of the debris washed up on the U.S. coastline
Plastic bags photodegrade: Over time they break down into smaller, more toxic petro-polymers
which eventually contaminate soils and waterways
As a consequence microscopic particles can enter the food chain
The effect on wildlife can be catastrophic
Birds become terminally entangled
Nearly 200 different species of sea life including whales, dolphins, seals and turtles die due to plastic bags
- World Wildlife Fund Report 2005
They die after ingesting plastic bags which they mistake for food
What do we do?
If we use a cloth bag, we can save 6 bags a week
That's 24 bags a month
That's 288 bags a year
That's 22,176 bags in an average life time
If just 1 out of 5 people in our country did this we would save 1,330,560,000,000 bags over our life time
Bangladesh has banned plastic bags
China has banned free plastic bags
- CNN.com/asia January 9, 2008
Ireland took the lead iin Europe, taxing plastic bags in 2002 and have now reduced plastic bag
consumption by 90%
In 2005 Rwanda banned plastic bags
Israel, Canada, western India, Botswana, Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, Taiwan, and Singapore have also banned or are moving toward banning the plastic bag
On March 27th 2007, San Francisco becomes first U.S. city to ban plastic bags
Oakland and Boston are considering a ban
Plastic shopping bags are made from polyethylene: a thermoplastic made from oil
Reducing plastic bags will decrease foreign oil dependency
China will save 37 million barrels of oil each year due to their ban of free plastic bags
It is possible......