What is the Deal With Disposable Plastic Bags?

March 12, 2009 at 12:08 pm Leave a comment

Remember that line from The Graduate, where one of Dustin Hoffman’s father’s friends tells him “The future is plastics”?  Well, for better and worse, that man was delivering some serious knowledge, even though script writer Buck Henry was being metaphorical.  What do we mean by “for better and worse”?  Well, we don’t want to demonize plastics in general – they do provide some benefits such as serving to reduce the use of other resources such as glass, aluminum, and steel.  They also make a variety of products flexible, durable, and lightweight, thus creating new industrial methods, business, and scalable economies where before there were none.  On their Packaging and Consumer Products page, the American Plastics Council provides some statistics and general information about plastics in regard to recycling, reuse, reduction, and recovery.

However, we’re speaking specifically about disposable plastic bags – those you take home your groceries in and wrap sandwiches in.  Ultimately, our stance is that industry will not take money out of its own pockets and reduce the harmful effects of their product to the environment without we-the-people encouraging them to, mainly by boycotting these products altogether. IT IS EXTREMELY EASY TO DO – for your grocery shopping, use reusable bags constructed from natural products such as cotton or bamboo; for sandwiches, wrap them in a paper napkin or a reusable piece of tin foil.




Here are some reasons and statistics WHY you should boycott disposable plastic bags and even ask your local grocer to discontinue carrying them.

  1. Plastic bags are made from petroleum…yup, that precious resource THAT ISN’T RENEWABLE which we use for so many other things.  That’s just ridiculous and we all know it.  Why waste precious resources when we have other options for reusable products?
  2. Plastic bags are not biodegradable.  Certainly, they break down, but only into smaller parts that end up in our water supply and even in our soil.
  3. Have you ever thought “Awww…that plastic bag is so beautiful blowing through my neighborhood”???  We bet not.  Litter is just awful and plastic bags are one of the biggest culprits (well…it’s humans who are responsible; plastic doesn’t throw itself away.)
  4. This is a GLOBAL dilemma.  Other countries have taken massive steps to curb the spread of disposable plastic bags, yet the United States is dragging its feet.  Check out some examples below (and much thanks to natural-environment.com, earthresource.org, BBC news, and National Geographic for doing the reserach and publishing the data to inform people.)
  • In Asia, the bags were banned in 2002 in Bangladesh after they were considered to be major factors in blocking sewers and drains and contributing to the severe flooding that devastated the country in 1988 and 1998.
  • In 2002, Ireland imposed a 15-cent tax on bags, which led to a rapid 90 percent reduction in use. Ireland uses the tax to help fund other environmental initiatives. Bags are also taxed in Sweden and Germany, and are set to be banned outright in Paris this year.
  • 30 rural Alaskan villages and towns have banned plastic bags.
  • The city of San Francisco became the first major municipality to ban the use of plastic bags, and nearby Oakland has followed suit, but not without controversy and litigation from industry groups.
  • In the European Union, member countries require manufacturers/producers of plastic bags and other plastic waste to take them back and recycle them.
  • In Taiwan and South Africa, both countries prohibit the thinner plastic bags – this encourages people to bring their own bags since retailers can’t afford to provide the more expensive, thicker plastic bags for free.

Compelling enough for you?   Then check out ecosumo.com for some reusable bags that were designed not only to be sturdy and eco-conscious, but provide some stylish solutions that fit the colorfulness and creativity of your Planet-Saving personality.  We carry a variety of reusable bags, some made from Hemp, others made from cloth, all made with durability, style, and Green living in mind.  And most of them are waterproof and hold more than double the standard disposable plastic bags.

Here are some final action items you can use to help rid our environment of the waste and poison that is disposable plastic bags:

  1. Get some reusable bags and use ’em!
  2. If you don’t have a reusable bag yet, ask for paper – they hold at least 4 times more than disposable plastic.
  3. Talk to/write to the store manager (or even the corporate headquarters) about promoting the use of cloth, reusable bags to their shoppers.
  4. Spread the word!  Tell friends and family and even strangers about how they can soooo easily help out.

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