17 reasons why you should re-use plastic and paper bags
- 14 plastic bags contain enough petroleum to drive a car a mile.
- According to the EPA, 380 billion plastic bags or wraps are thrown away in America each year
- Making a paper bag emits 70% more global warming gases than making a plastic bag.
- Cities spend up to 17 cents per bag in disposal costs, wasting millions of tax dollars.
- Paper bags generate 50 times more water pollutants than
- Plastic bags are one of the top items of litter on our community beaches, roads, sidewalks, and vegetation along with cigarette butts and Styrofoam.
- Plastic bags are made from a non-renewable natural resource: petroleum.
- Thousands of plastic bags end up in our ocean and cause harm to our marine wildlife.
- Many cows, goats and other animals choke or starve to death when they accidentally ingest plastic bags while foraging for food.
- Businesses will save on cost in providing plastic bags when consumers use less of them and bring their own bags. When businesses give away free bags, their costs are passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices.
- Plastic and paper bags do not completely degrade in modern landfills because of the lack of water, light, oxygen and other important elements that are necessary for the degradation process to be completed.
- Each re-usable bag you use has the potential to eliminate up to 1,000 plastic bags in its lifetime. Some stores like Ralphs, Raleys, Safeway, Whole Foods, Bel-Air offer a credit if you bring your own bags.
- Americans consume 100 billion plastic shopping bags every year. Over 500 billion are consumed worldwide and about 4 billion become general litter.
- Plastic bags don't "biodegrade", they break down into tiny toxic bits which contaminate soil and water. They can take 1,000 years to break down.
- Fourteen million trees were cut in 1999 to produce the ten billion paper grocery bags used by Americans that year.
- Each ton of recycled paper can save 17 trees, 380 gallons of oil, three cubic yards of landfill space, 4,000 kilowatts of energy and 7,000 gallons of water.
- The average family brings home 1,000 bags every year. Most of those bags end up in land fills.
What you can do
- Use a re-usable shopping bag.
- Turn down a bag at the store if you don't need one.
- Ask the bagger to put more in each bag if possible.
- Don't put your produce in a plastic bag if it's not necessary.
- Try to get stores to offer credit if you bring your own bags.