Your grocery bag. Something that can be tremendously useful for 12 mins of your life; yet, is around for over 1,000 years. In this time it could live a life even more impactful than your own! Will it go on to choke a seagull? (1 million birds are killed by plastic every year.) Perhaps it will strangle a Sea Turtle. (100,000 marine animals a year die from plastic entanglement.) Even after it breaks down the dangerous hormone altering chemicals found in plastic pollute our water, air and food. They’re additionally passed down through nearly all walks of life.
Next time you eat fish you may be consuming the broken down byproduct of your plastic bag. Over 93% of Americans out of over 2500 tested have BPA (a toxic chemical found in plastic associated with a myriad of health issues) in their system.
- Each year, an estimated one trillion plastic bags are consumed worldwide. That comes out to over one million per minute. Billions end up as litter each year.
- On average we only recycle one plastic bag in every 200 we use.
So what can we do?
With all recycling efforts of plastic bags being so tremendously ineffective, the best solution is to stop the use of single use plastics. Although they are incredibly hard to avoid there are ways you can avoid them, such as carrying shopping bags, and giving up bottled water. The most important step is lobbying and supporting bans on single use plastics. More solutions: 100 Steps to a Plastic-Free Life.
“10 Facts About Single-Use Plastic Bags.” 10 Facts About Single-Use Plastic Bags, http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/programs/population_and_sustainability/sustainability/plastic_bag_facts.html.
Biello, David. “Like a Guest That Won’t Leave, BPA Lingers in the Human Body.” Scientific American, 28 Jan. 2009, http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/bpa-lingers-in-human-body/.
Dapcevich, Madison. “Nearly 75 Percent Of Northwest Atlantic Deep-Sea Fish Are Eating Plastics.” IFLScience, IFLScience, 11 Apr. 2019, http://www.iflscience.com/environment/nearly-75-percent-of-northwest-atlantic-deepsea-fish-are-eating-plastics/.
Nordqvist, Christian. “Bisphenol A: Hazards and Sources.” Medical News Today, MediLexicon International, 25 May 2017, http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/221205.php.
“Ocean Crusaders.” Ocean Crusaders, oceancrusaders.org/.
“What Is BPA and Why Is It Bad for You?” Healthline, Healthline Media, http://www.healthline.com/nutrition/what-is-bpa#what-it-is.