How long do you think you could go without using a plastic shopping bag? A week? A month? A lifetime? Time for statistics. According to The Wall Street Journal, the U.S. goes through 100 billion plastic shopping bags annually. An estimated 12 million barrels of oil is required to make that many plastic bags. The problem is now political as well as ecological.
I'm pretty sure I've never seen a turtle use a plastic bag, yet Californians against waste reports that hundreds of animal species have been scientifically documented to be adversely affected by plastic marine debris and it is estimated to kill over 100,000 marine mammals and turtles each year.
The solution is pretty clear--demanding recycling programs at our local stores and bringing re-usable bags every time we shop. San Francisco and some European countries have taken a lead in this movement. In 2007, San Francisco became the first city in the US to ban plastic bags in major supermarkets and pharmacies. In 2008, NYC legislated that large retailers are required to offer bag recycling. What does your city do? It's time to make our voices heard. I spoke up yesterday at a KmartDesign event asking what "green" programs the company had in place. The company spokesperson and the PR lead didn't have one single example. In my book this is unacceptable and I made my voice heard. Large retailers should have policies in place to battle this waste.
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