In the United States, 12 million barrels of oil are used in the production of the 100 billion plastic bags produced each year. Approximately 200,000 plastic bags go to landfills every hour.
About 8 million tons of plastic gets in the sea each year, and at this proportion, we look a future with extra plastic in the ocean than fish by 2050. Turtles think they are Jellyfish and birds think it’s something tasty. They tangle themselves around propellers and fishes are seen eating plastic bags. Plastic is stuck to free dive and surfboard fins and in the open high seas, plastic bags are seen more than fishes. They are the number one enemy of marine life.
Most of us are familiar with the environmental allegations against disposable plastic bags. They can harm native wildlife, crowd our landfills and pollute our oceans – not to mention the fact that their production has a large carbon footprint. You may also know that across the world, various countries, states, provinces and cities have taken to placing plastic bag bans. Others have tied taxes and charges to combat the problem. As if you didn’t have enough reasons to switch to reusable bags, consider these frequently asked questions about plastic bag bans around the globe.
Where did plastic bag regulation begin?
The first governmental barrier to plastic bag use occurred in Denmark in 1993. The legislation created a tax imposed on plastic bag producers, according to the Earth Policy Institute. Because companies had to pay higher taxes on the bags they produced, costs began to rise for consumers. The regulation resulted in a 60 per cent reduction in plastic bag consumption across the country.
How else do governments tax plastic bag use?
Denmark is just one example of a country that has reduced its consumption of these harmful products. Ireland also imposed a tax on plastic bags – but this time, the charge was applied directly to consumers. People had to pay about 15 euro cents per plastic bag each time they obtained one from a store. Consumption of the bags fell by a whopping 90 per cent.
Whether governments tax plastics companies or consumers, it appears that adding additional charges to plastic bag use is effective. Some countries and cities, however, have taken to banning bags entirely.
THE GOOD NEWS!
The plastic bag is one of the easiest plastic items to replace with an ocean friendly action. Most of us, still use plastic bags, not because we want them. We know it’s not the way to go by now. We simply forget to bring reusable bags in the first place, and the availability doesn’t pressure slightly hard enough to create the essential habit of always bringing your own bag.
Good things are being done. On EU level goals have been put in place to ‘drastically reduce’ bags. Shops have started charging for plastic bags now, and more and more countries and municipalities start banning them altogether (hoorah Hawaii and Delhi, Rwanda, Bangladesh, and Antigua). In the Spanish Balearics, bags are banned as from next year. In Italy, you now have to pay for your bag when getting veggies. Many of these bans, start in 2019 or 2020. Who’s next? It takes time and many countries haven’t pledged yet to ban the bag.
The good news: we can start NOW! So instead of using plastic bags, we can use woven net bag, canvas produce bags, cotton mesh grocery bags, reusable cotton mesh produce bags, cotton net produce bags. Big positive changes can come from individuals taking the lead.