Single use plastic bags have become a huge problem and detrimental to our environment. Unfortunately, though convenient, the majority of them end up in landfills or floating in our lakes and seas. These are creating enormous hazards such as”The Great Pacific Garbage Patch”.
“The Great Pacific Garbage Patch“, which also has a sister island in the Atlantic, is described as a large trash island. It is growing at an alarming rate due to our strong desire for convenience over practicality and environmental responsibility.
Our choices are the causes of these islands but we also have the solution lying right in front of us.
Reusable bags are cheap and they even pay for themselves. Each bag costs around $1.00 and many stores offer refunds of up to $.10 per bag each time you use them. Therefore, in 10 uses they pay for themselves!
These reusable bags are convenient for other uses as well. For example, I love taking these bags to the beach because they are great when dealing with wet clothes and sand.
The decision to stop using plastic sandwich baggies is another option that goes hand in hand with switching to reusable bags.
Many companies have started to make sandwich holders that leave your sandwiches in full shape and form. No more smashed peanut butter and jellies! (a major plus). Another option is websites such as snacktaxi.com and reuseit.com that offer washable sandwich bags made out of fabric that can be adjusted to the size of your snacks. By switching to reusable sandwich bags, 20 million bags are saved from the landfill each day. That's 430,000 pounds of plastic that kept out of our oceans! The cost of reusable bags range from $4 to $8 dollars but by investing now, you will continue to save money down the road. Even though it may seem like it's expensive, remember that each time you buy a box of bags for $4; you are throwing away the money. Resist the urge to use individual sandwich baggies; our environment and your wallet will thank you later.
Organizations such as Surfrider have played a large role in raising the awareness of the effects of plastic to our ecosystems. Surfrider has successfully banned the bag in Hawaii, which will take effect in 2015. We must applaud Los Angeles as well. They recently just passed the ban and stores have a year to start phasing out plastic. Paper bags will be available to consumers for a $.10 charge per bag.
If you want to get involved in the fight against the bag, many organizations are joining the fight. Contact your local CALPIRG (California Public Interest Research Group) to sign petitions that will be sent to your local council members. They have successfully helped aid the fight to better our environment by banning the bag. As you can see, people around the world are starting to realize the affects of convenience on our environment. By making a conscious effort, we can officially stop contributing to the garbage patch and start focusing on reducing our environmental footprint. Please make the effort to ban the bag!