For the most part, you know that plastic bags are bad for the environment, but do you know why? First off, they take 1000 years to decompose (that’s right – every single plastic bag ever manufactured still exists!) and an estimated 500 billion to 1 trillion bags are consumed worldwide each year. Not only are these bags choking the planet, but also they’re choking wildlife…literally. Turtles, birds and goats, among others, ingest the plastic, mistaking it for food.*
To decrease the amount of plastic bags blowing around Africa, various groups of women have begun collecting and using them to weave objects that they can sell. Many African nations have banned the bags, as have various other countries. Ireland imposed a “plastic tax,” charging people per bag as is done in France. The first US city to move in this direction was – you guessed it – San Francisco. (Click here to read about steps different populations are taking).
So…what can you do? Stop using plastic bags, for one thing! This is the perfect time to start–with holiday shopping in full swing! There are many great alternatives — check out some of the fun products that are available out there. It’s a minor step with a major payoff. When it comes to behavioral adjustments in the name of the environment, what more could you ask for?
* Photo courtesy of Ron Prendergast, Melbourne Zoo