As is the process, I start out thinking I am going to be sharing one thing, and my Go Green Blog posts take some wicked turns. I begin with the notion I am going to ‘knock this out’, then I fall down the rabbit hole of my topic, getting genuinely educated. This week is no different. I have been thinking a lot about what is going on with plastic bags. If you knew me, you’d know that isn’t a filler sentence. I do think almost obsessively about any topic nudging me, until I dive in and swim with it.
With deep guilt I admit I usually have a plan in place to not need plastic bags, but there have been breakdowns when I have. Then I use them for “poopy bags” when walking Shanti. I know it’s wrong (lying to myself that I recycled a bag, not the latter), and the Universe’s Green Police have, via this blog post, given me my last warning. (Say it with me folks, “Once you know, you are responsible”).
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, Americans throw away around 100 billion plastic bags each year, recycling less than one percent. Recycling plastic bags cost more and uses more energy than making the bag itself. Now I am really wondering what they do with all of those bags that well-meaning people place in the bins at the supermarket entries… That’s another blog entry in itself.
The bags made out of polyethylene pose the biggest environmental risk. One bag can take up to 1,000 years to decompose. Plastic doesn’t biodegrade, it photo degrades. S’plain Lucy! Well green peeps, when at some time in the far distant future that plastic bag does start to breakdown, it isn’t reabsorbed like products created with the natural cycle in mind. Instead it just breaks down into smaller pieces of the same ugly, life-deterring toxic substance, as it was as a toxic big boy. The soil and water that is supposed to be nurturing all of us (us meaning two-leggeds, four-leggeds, feathered, swimmers, etc) gets contaminated. No long term win for anyone. If you are asleep to the seriousness of this, let me wake you up with this disturbing fact found on worldwatch.org. “Plastic bags can take up to 1,000 years to break down, so even when an animal dies and decays after ingesting a bag, the plastic re-enters the environment, posing a continuing threat to wildlife.”
I encourage you to take a moment to download and click through this powerful presentation to get a real idea of what we are talking about here, an integral part of this conversation. (go ahead.. I’ll wait)
Living sustainably is a choice-by-choice process. Today, choose to:
Make sure your cloth/recycled shopping bags are located where you are going to use them.
- No shopping bag? Make a “purchase only what you can carry” commitment.
- Purchase more reusable shopping bags at the store; you can always use them or give them away to others when you’re done.
- Consider using these reusable produce bags available at GoGreen marketplace
- or these “Dog Waste Bags” available at GoGreen marketplace, as well.
Okay Go Greener’s! Looking forward to your “Say No to Plastic” shares in the comment area! What choice are you making today to say “Plastic BE GONE!”?
*Image of earth being deposited in plastic bag provided by ND Johnson via Shutterstock.
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