1) Depletion of natural resources
Plastic bags are made from polyethylene, a synthetic material derived from natural gas and oil, which wastes a non-renewable natural resource. It takes 12 million barrels of oil to produce the amount of plastic bags used each year in the United States. Can you imagine what it would take to produce the amount of plastic bags used worldwide? In contrast, paper bags made from recycled paper conserve natural resources and better recycle waste paper from other industries.
2) Environmental impact
Unlike paper bags, which are biodegradable, most plastic bags are not biodegradable and do not degrade. Plastic bags can decompose for up to 1,000 years on land and 450 years in water, while paper bags break down in three to six weeks. Visit also: paper bag manufacturers
3) Less than 1% of plastic bags are recyclable.
Most plastic bags are not recycled because it is cheaper to make new plastic bags than to recycle used ones. The average person consumes between 350 and 400 plastic bags per year. In the United States alone, about 100 billion new plastic bags are used each year. According to the Wall Street Journal, only 1% of the plastic bags produced in the world are recycled. Can you imagine where all that used plastic goes?!!!!!! Normally it ends up in landfills, in the air, or in the water. In South Africa, you often see plastic bags hanging on fences or caught in bushes and they are known as the “national flower”.
4) Danger to animals and marine life
Countless plastic bags are dumped into the sea and harm marine life. Many marine animals and birds accidentally swallow these bags or get tangled in the floating bags and choke on them. Turtles often mistake them for jellyfish and swallow them, environmentalists say. An estimated 100,000 marine animals die each year from plastic waste dumped into the North Pacific. Land animals also die when they eat plastic. The longer the plastic stays in their digestive systems, the less they eat and the more they starve.
5) Safety for children
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, an average of 25 children die each year from choking on plastic bags. Most of these children are under the age of 12 months. Plastic bags of all sizes, including food, garbage, cleaning products, and mattresses, pose a safety risk to children, although many are warned by parents and caregivers to keep them out of reach of children.
6) Plastics make their way back into the food chain
Every year, over a million tons of plastic bags, are produced and thrown away, but only 1% of them are recycled, with the rest ending up in landfills or the sea. This plastic is unknowingly eaten by marine animals and eventually enters our food chain. Check also: Biodegradable bagasse plates
7) Plastic bags clog drains and cause flooding.
A plastic bag is used for an average of 12 minutes before being thrown away, and can then remain in the environment for centuries. In most countries without strict environmental legislation, plastic bags are a major nuisance. They are easily blown away by the wind, hang on bushes, float in rivers, fly off fences and clog drains. They clog drains and prevent water from flowing freely during heavy rains, causing flooding in many cities.
We must take care of our environment. We should commit to carrying our own shopping bags. If we can’t do that, we should at least use paper bags. Let’s say no to plastic bags.