Editor, The Times:
Single use plastic bags represent a huge threat to our town’s environment, including our fresh water and to our wildlife. This is a threat not only because plastic bags are ending up in our landfill, but also because many resources have to be used to make plastic bags.
Here are some interesting and astonishing facts about plastic bags.
• Canadians use 9-15 billion plastic bags a year.
• The energy used to make 8.7 plastic shopping bags can drive a car 1 km.
• Animals often mistake the plastic bags as food and when eaten, they clog the animals’ intestines. Loons and ducks can also become tangled up in the plastic bags and drown, or lose their abilities to fly.
• Plastic bags have caused severe flooding in places such as India and in Bangladesh by clogging drains and sewers.
• Approximately 46,000 pieces of plastic are floating per square mile in the world’s oceans.
• In a landfill, the toxic particles from plastic bags can enter the food chain when animals eat them.
• If you placed one year’s worth of plastic bags end to end, they would go around the earth almost 36,000 times.
• A family of four uses approximately 1,500 single use plastic bags a year.
• Plastic bags are made from oil. It takes about 430,000 gallons of oil to make 100 million plastic bags. That’s pretty bad when we are using 500 billion to 1 trillion bags each year worldwide. No wonder our gas prices are so high.
• If we could use 1,000 sets of reusable bags regularly in our community, we could save 1,000,000 plastic bags each year.
What we can do:
• Begin limiting and eventually stopping the use of plastic bags.
• Use alternatives such as reusable bags and bins or baskets made from all natural fibers such as jute, hemp, woven cotton, and canvas.
• Invest in a personal shopping cart or caddie. They are used widely in Europe. They are good for you because it makes it more practical for you to walk and get some exercise without straining your back and shoulders. Walk more, save money, and save the environment!
• Use no bags; simply pick things up and put them into your cart.
Katie Bieber and Reid Rebinsky