In case you did not already realize it, the one trillion plastic grocery bags used worldwide every year are becoming a serious drain on the environment.
21st Century Citizen has compiled a great list of the Top 25 resources to help you reduce, recycle, or reuse all those plastic bags you carry home from your grocery store.
Their list includes creative gems like:
- Where to find a recycling location near you, in case your local grocery does not offer a recycling bin
- Sites that sell reusable shopping totes
- Creative ideas for reusing plastic bags for other things around your house
- Novel classroom projects for teachers
- Patterns for turning plastic bags into reusable items such as hefty tote bags and all-weather rugs
With so many options, there’s bound to be a solution that works for you, reducing your environmental impact, and saving you money in the process! For the full list, check out the source link below.
Did you know that each year, about 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags are used worldwide? At over one million bags per minute, that’s a lot of plastic bags, of which billions of them end up as litter each year.
According to the EPA, the United States consumes more than 380 billion plastic bags, sacks, and wraps yearly.
Another thing many people don’t know is that plastic bags currently don’t biodegrade very well at all, they photodegrade. Meaning, they break down into smaller and smaller toxic bits, which contaminate soil and waterways, where it enters the food chain -- animals accidentally eat these bits and pieces.
Plastic pollution causes more than 1 million seabirds, 100,000 marine mammals, and even more fish to die in the North Pacific alone, every year. The problem is so bad that a plastic “stew,” twice the size of Texas has formed on the Pacific Ocean. Scientists have dubbed the mass of plastic bags, jugs, bottles, nets, and other plastic junk the “Eastern Garbage Patch,” and its volume is growing at an alarming pace.
And if these facts and statistics aren’t sobering enough, consider this: when researchers tested the water of the Pacific Ocean, they found it contained miniscule pieces of plastic, and, by weight, actually contained six times as much plastic as plankton.
And, let’s not forget, it’s not just marine animals that are poisoned by all these stray plastic bags. You too are ingesting plastics every day, and being exposed to a potentially deadly mix of plastic chemicals and additives, including:
- Cancer-causing PFOAs
- PBDEs, which cause reproductive problems
- The reproductive toxins, phthalates
- BPA, which disrupts the endocrine system by mimicking the female hormone estrogen
What happens to your body when you breathe, eat, drink, and absorb all of this plastic? Obesity, declining fertility rates and other reproductive problems, cancer, and more.
Simple lifestyle changes can do wonders for your health, and using cloth bags instead of plastic bags is among the absolute easiest. Remember, each reusable shopping bag you use has the potential to eliminate hundreds, if not thousands, of plastic bags over its lifetime.
Reusing your plastic bags for other things also has the added benefits of saving you money, as you can eliminate some of the other materials you’re buying, and reducing your impact on your environment. If you like crocheting or knitting, you could give out handmade reusable totes as Christmas presents this year, for example. (There are several patterns available in the 21st Century Citizen resource list!)
Lastly, don’t forget to protect your health by avoiding exposure to dangerous plastic chemicals in general, by: