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The High Price of the Plastic Bag—And What You Can Do about It!


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The High Price of the Plastic Bag—And What You Can Do about It!

Choose Reusable!

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Could it be time to bag the bag? This eye-opening infographic by Arte Ideas shows the high toll plastic bags are taking on our planet.

Alarmed by the impact? You should be. Gyres of plastic debris grow ever larger in our oceans, releasing toxins into the water and harming marine life. On land, livestock including cattle, sheep and even camels are choking and dying after ingesting plastic bags they mistake for food.

The problem is huge, but together we can make a difference.

Here’s a quick update on progress made since 2012.

July 2012 Seattle’s plastic bag ban takes effect.
March 2013 A bag ban takes effect in Austin, Texas.
September-October 2013 More than a million plastic bags were picked up from coasts and waterways around the world during the Ocean Conservancy’s 2013 Coastal Cleanup event.
January 2014 Los Angeles becomes the largest U.S. city to ban plastic bags. Dallas and Chicago follow suit in 2015.
April 2014 Members of the European Parliament back new rules requiring member countries to cut plastic bag use 50% by 2017 and 80% by 2019.
April 2014 Chicago city council approves plastic bag ban.
September 2014 California becomes the first state to pass a plastic bag ban, bringing the total U.S. population covered by anti-plastic bag legislation to over 49 million. More than 150 U.S. cities and counties have enacted plastic bag bans or fees. [NOTE: The California referendum is currently on hold, pending a final decision by voters in November 2016.]
June 2015 The state of Hawaii bans the distribution of plastic bags by grocery stores; however a loophole may be making the plastic problem even worse.

In addition, product_bagsome countries have either banned plastic bags altogether, or imposed a charge or tax on them.

And The Washed Ashore Project has processed more than 18 tons of ocean debris into 65 touring educational art sculptures to help create awareness about marine debris and plastic pollution.

By choosing reusable bags for groceries and other items, we can all help keep plastic bags from entering the environment in the first place. Each high-quality reusable bag you choose to use (and reuse) could potentially eliminate nearly 1,000 plastic bags over its lifetime. Every small, conscious choice helps!

comment_2What are you doing to reduce your use of plastic? We’d love to hear from you! Just drop us a line in the comment section below.

Resources

Earth Policy Institute: Plastic Bag Bans or Fees Cover 49 Million Americans
Earth Policy Institute: Plastic Bags Fact Sheet – [PDF]
Care 2: 6 Tragic Tales of Animals Who Died After Swallowing Plastic
Huffington Post: Hawaii Just Became The First State To Ban Plastic Bags At Grocery Checkouts
Huffington Post: Loophole Undermines Hawaii’s Historic Plastic Bag Ban
Big Fat Bags: Bag Charges, Taxes and Bans by country

Do you bring your own reusable bag when you go shopping?

View Results
 
Yes:
 
88%
No:
 
12%
Total Votes:
120
View Poll
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15 Comments
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Anna Pietras
Anna Pietras
4 years ago

Always bring reusable bags with me when shopping. I’m glad UK has introduced charge for the plastic bags.

Melissa Short
Melissa Short
4 years ago

A lot of times, what I’m buying doesn’t need a bag. I just carry it out or put it in my purse. When we go to Aldi’s, we use the boxes from there. You know that you’ve cut down on plastic bag usage when you tell the kids to grab one for garbage out of the van and they can’t find any, lol. That’s been a ‘problem’ for us the last year and we weren’t even trying!

Moderator
Admin
Moderator
4 years ago
Reply to  Melissa Short

What a great “problem” to have, Melissa! Thanks for sharing and keep up the good work!

Brandy Wallace
Brandy Wallace
4 years ago

I hope the plastic ban will spread here in Washington state!

Amy Hepfner
Amy Hepfner
4 years ago

I love my reusable Norwex shopping bags and veggie bags!! They hold more than paper or plastic and you don’t have to worry about them ripping or breaking. Plus I get free advertisement for my Norwex business. I was in the produce department of our local coop putting my produce in the veggie bags and I had a person come up to me and ask me where I got them.

Tanya Aoyagi
Tanya Aoyagi
4 years ago

We always bring our Norwex shopping bags now–I love them and get a ton of compliments from checkers on how sturdy they are! I am hoping more cities in WA will follow Seattle’s lead!

Kristina
Kristina
4 years ago

Any tips on recycling the plastic bags that have already accumulated?

Amy Hepfner
Amy Hepfner
4 years ago
Reply to  Kristina

Hi Kristina,
Here’s a web site that gives lots of ideas including crafts you can make with plastic bags. http://www.wikihow.com/Recycle-Old-Plastic-Bags. Although I don’t really care for their idea of storing perishable food in them the rest of the idea are good ones. There are also books out there on crafting with recyclables that you can check out at the library. I remember seeing one a while ago on using plastic bags to crochet rugs and totes. Hope these ideas help.

Beth Reamer
Beth Reamer
4 years ago

I need to be better about bringing my re-usable bags with me. Generally we get paper bags and re-use them as recycling containers and can just put the whole bag in recycling when it gets full at home.

Moderator
Admin
Moderator
4 years ago

Thanks for your comment, Beth. I think it’s hard for a lot of us to remember to bring our reusable bags to the grocery store–I know it is for me. Be on the lookout for an upcoming blog soon with tips to help you remember. : )

Jody Gauthier
Jody Gauthier
4 years ago

We need posters or banners to post at stores and markets to boost awareness! I always have my Norwexbags and produce bags with me! Now to convince my husband…

Billie Watts
Billie Watts
4 years ago

I always have the best intention of using recyclable bags; I have a dozen of them at least. My problem has always been remembering them before I go to the store or even taking them in the store when I get there. The blog post has given me ingight on was to remember 🙂

Rochelle Pokeda
Rochelle Pokeda
3 years ago

When I took the poll I didn’t take reusable bags, I will be from now on.

Jennifer Rottman
Jennifer Rottman
3 years ago

I always have my reusable bags with me in the car.

Gingi Freeman
Gingi Freeman
2 years ago

I am strongly in favor of ditching the plastic and encouraging shoppers to do the same but I STRONGLY disagree with the infographic listing “taxing” as a “solution”. Not only is that an unconstitutional concept for America, but it does not SOLVE the deeper problem, which is the mindset that leads to plastic consumption. Unless the tax revenue is specially earmarked to address cleaning oceans / addressing the waste associated with plastic use, all it does it bloat an already overbloated (and corrupt!) central government that is already out of control and irresponsible with spending. Take it from a California native, who is watching the resentment over the bag tax just turn my indifferent friends bitter and angry towards those trying to go green… all while the tax pads the pockets of the wealthy politicians on their spending sprees. Sad sad sad.