Reason #87 Why I HATE Plastic Bags

It is no secret that I am a little nuts about plastic. As I’ve said before, unless it is delivering medicine via an IV line or protecting my kids head as a bicycle helmet, all our plastic use is totally, totally out of control.  We abuse, misuse and overuse this modern innovation to a sickening level, and I believe it is making some of us sick.

Perhaps some of the worst plastic offenders, in my opinion, are the disposable grocery store bags. Worldwide, more than 1 trillion are used every year, and each one can take up to 1,000 years to degrade. Less than 1% are recycled – most are thrown into the trash or thrown out the window, so it is no surprise that plastic bags are the second-most common type of ocean refuse, after cigarette butts.

With all that said, you can imagine my frustration the other morning when I noticed this flapping in the breeze outside our kitchen window:

Yes, high up in a tree in our courtyard is a stubbornly tangled plastic bag.  If we’re unlucky, it will stay there all winter. Instead of admiring my neighbor’s cheerful Christmas decorations, I can stare at a plastic bag. Rather than watching snowflakes fall on the evergreens, I can watch a plastic bag. Wouldn’t it be nice to see a bird family make a home in that tree rather than a plastic bag?!

Despite my rants, plastic isn’t going away any time soon: in the last 10 years we have produced more plastic than during the whole of the last century. But, we can encourage a cultural shift away from disposable items and towards reusable products. Why is our momentary convenience more important than the safety and beauty of our fair planet?

Reusable shopping bags are the way to go, but if that isn’t convenient at least re-use the plastic bags brought home from the store (it drives me bonkers when I see well-intentioned shoppers dropping perfectly fine plastic bags into the recycle bins at the grocery store – JUST REUSE THOSE THINGS till they are falling apart and then recycle them. Sheesh!)

This planet belongs to all of us. And it is the only planet we can call home. So let’s make it a nice place, ok?

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1 Comment for this entry

  1. Mona Downhour says:

    Oh yes, plastic bags—–some lady I know uses Walmart plastic bags to crochets purses. She lines them with zippered bags inside and they are really neat looking, and wear like iron.

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