Wednesday, 11 March 2015

STWW: One Less: Plastic Bag

This issue made a buzz a few years ago when Toronto implemented a 5-cent charge on plastic bags in an attempt to reduce the number of bags being used. While this worked for a while, the charge has now been lifted and I've seen consumers go back to the convenience of plastic bags.

Plastic bags are aptly named since they're made of plastic, a substance that takes over 1000 years to break down. These bags are accumulated in landfills where they don't biodegrade, they photodegrade: the bags break down into smaller pieces that soak up toxins and then contaminate soil and waterways. Also, unsuspecting animals mistake these bags for food and die from choking on the bags or the toxins of the plastic.

It is estimated that one million plastic bags are used every minute. Each square mile of the ocean has approximately 46 000 pieces of plastic floating around. Also, 10% of plastic product ends up in the ocean, 70% of which ends up on the ocean floor where it cannot degrade. Only 0.5% to 3% of all plastic bags end up recycled.

So what can you do?

1. Reuse your plastic bags. I use any that I have at home to line rubbish bins so I don't have to wash the bins each time I empty them.
2. Recycle your plastic bags. If you have many and no use for them, recycle them. Recycling is the best way to dispose of them.
3. Use reusable bags. I keep a few in the trunk of my car and one folded in my purse in case of emergencies. This means that I'm almost never without one. Bonus: they come in really cute designs!
4. Just don't use a plastic bag. Whenever I have five or less items and I've left my reusable bags in my car, I say I don't need a plastic bag. The walk to the car is not long enough to justify using this environmental nightmare. At supermarkets I can easily take out the trolleys to my car so I opt for that and just put them in a bag once I have one. 

If more of us stop using plastic bags, it gives companies that produce them a reason to stop making plastic bags and destroying the world that we live in. 

Do you use reusable bags? How do you remember to carry them? Let me know if you have something you'd like me to write about or if I'm missing some important information by commenting below or tweeting me @SundayWardrobe!

Cute reusable bags:
1 / 2 / 3 / 4
Information from: 1 / 2

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