Is It Time For a Worldwide Ban on Single-use Plastic Bags?

Let me state for the record, that with few exceptions, I do not like governmental bans or restrictions on personal behavior. That means the number of ounces of soda one can drink, or the amount on salt or kind of light bulbs that can be used; all should be off limits to the nosey bureaucrats’ intent on controlling every aspect of our daily lives.
There are, however, exigent circumstances when the harm being done is so massive that intervention in the form of bans is necessary. So it is with the worldwide pollution caused by the indiscriminate use of plastics for convenience rather than necessity.
Unlike climate change, very few are challenging the reality of the plastic trash and debris crisis. Estimates of single-use plastic bags range from 500 billion to 1 trillion bags worldwide every year. Virtually no corner of the globe has been left uncovered by plastic trash. Very few pristine locations remain unsullied.
Whether we are talking about whales off the coast of Spain , cows in India, or camels in the Egyptian desert or monkeys in East Java, globally many thousands of animals die ingesting plastics and then dying of starvation every year.
The Blue Danube is loaded with more trash than fish. Mount Everest is a mountain of trash and garbage. It is estimated that 80 to 90 percent of ocean pollution comes directly from plastics in the form of plastic bags, toothbrushes, containers of every shape and description, toys, and bottles. Time Magazine covered The Great Pacific Garbage Patch in 2012, one of the Five Gyres circulating in the oceans.

When Rolling Stone covered the Plastic Bag Wars in 2011, they noted that American shoppers used 102 billion plastic bags yearly. That figure has gone up to 380 billion bags yearly. It is very easy for a family of four to go through 500 plastic bags a year. Remember these are bags designed to last forever and are only used for 15 minutes or less on average.

With all this plastic being produced every year, you’d better believe manufacturers are fighting back using intimidation and litigation in their arsenal of tactics.

Why should you care?

  1. Plastic never goes away. Every piece of plastic produced in the last 50 years still exists unless it was recycled.
  2. 93% of Americans aged six or older have tested positive for BPA, a cancer causing chemical used in plastics.
  3. The search for lost Malaysian flight 370 has been hampered by the global marine litter crisis, as reported by CNN.
  4. The Plastic Bag Report lists 27 states, multiple countries, 102 cities in California and EU with complete bag bans or bans in various stages of legislation.
  5. The list of species testing positive for plastic in their bodies is growing, including 44 percent of all birds, 22 percent of cetaceans and turtles.

A better question is what kind of world do you want to leave to future generations? We are after all only as good as what we leave behind. As Captain Charles Moore notes we should be living our lives like it matters.






Say No to Plastics is devoted to finding ways of addressing the rampant and indiscriminate use of plastic in our environment.

We are literally chocking on the stuff. sml-plastic20stork

It is insanity that we continue to produce single use, throw away plastic products that are entering into the food chain. 

We are polluting our oceans and rivers, killing hundreds of thousands of birds and sea creatures yearly, and poisoning ourselves.

It is simply unacceptable that we must content with BPA leaching when we cook, or  when we open a can, or drink out of a plastic cup or bottle.



Getting the message out about the impact of our plastic usage on the environment takes time and money.  Action is needed now and so is funding.

We are in the process of designing new merchandise with the Say No to Plastics message…bumper strips, tee shirts, bags, and mugs. Sign up and receive updates on our merchandise.

Make a donation of $10 or more and receive a FREE bumper strip for your vehicle. Help get the word out!

 Be part of something greater than yourself!


Plastics are forever

This is one of the best slide presentations on plastics and the impact they have on our environment you are likely to see. Intelligent and well thought out AND put together by two “green teens” with Plastics Are Forever Youth summit.


Scientists Recommend Classifying Certain Plastic Waste As Toxic Trash


An international group of scientists think it is time to consider categorizing some plastic waste as toxic according to a recent LA Times article. Considering the damage to the environment and the health hazards posed by plastic debris and plastic pollution, many believe this is about time.

The throwaway mentality of all things plastic including single-use plastic bags and bottles has burgeoned into an ecological disaster of monstrous proportions in the last 30 years. The tide of plastic debris that has spread throughout the world’s oceans and across every continent poses health hazards to wildlife, marine life and the world’s populace.

It isn’t just the plague of plastic choking the seas as far as the Artic, or the enormous costs of cleaning up our coastlines reaching $500 million annually on the west coast alone. It is having to deal with the unintended consequences of mindlessly tossing vast quantities into the environment without recycling.

Scientists, researchers and marine biologists have found:

  1. Mutant fish with toxins stored in their fats thought to be caused by two General Electric manufacturing plants along the Hudson River that produced PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) from 1947 to 1976.
  2. One third of the fish caught in the English Channel have plastic contamination.Researchers estimate that fish living at intermediate depths in the North Pacific swallow as much as 24,000 tons of plastic debris a year.
  3. Science Daily found BPA, or Bisphenol A,(used as a hardener in polycarbonate plastics and as the lining in food and beverage containers) has been linked to childhood obesity, along with adverse effects on the heart and kidneys of adolescents.
  4. The National Academy of Sciences just published a study conducted by Washington State University and recently reported on Fox News . The study found compelling evidence that Bisphenol A may negatively impact women’s reproductive systems, cause chromosome damage, birth defects and miscarriages.

Plastics do not biodegrade; they photodegrade, breaking down into smaller particles and microscopic bits in the oceans. These plastic bits and their chemical compounds find their way into the food chain as they are ingested by over 180 known marine species.

Degrading plastics leach toxic chemicals such as bisphenol A into the seas. Smaller fish and crustaceans mistake the plastic debris for food are then eaten by larger and larger species. Estimates are there are six times as much photodegraded plastic is in the oceans than is plankton!

Scientists are now calling for a similar approach to fighting plastic debris and pollution as has been used in the past to fight fluorocarbons and refrigerants worldwide. In particular, they want to classify PVC, polystyrene, polyurethane and polycarbonate as the most hazardous/toxic plastics.

The U.S. could take lessons from many countries when it comes to managing plastic trash, especially Japan where 77% of its plastic waste was recycled in 2010.

It should also be noted that Canada, the European Union, and China have banned BPA in some uses. The World Health Organization calls Bisphenol A a particularly dangerous chemical also linking it to cancer and birth defects.

A complete report on the damage done to the environment, entitled Plastic Debris in the World’s Oceans, has been put together by Greenpeace. The 44 page report details the scale of contamination along with workable solutions.



Plastic is a bigger danger than global warming, or at least it is in the immediate sense, considering it is snuffing out the lowest common denominator in the food chain, says Neil Seldman, a waste recycling expert and president of the Institute for Local Self Reliance, an organization with a long track record of promoting sustainable communities.

Forget the hokum about global warming. Plastic pollution can be seen everywhere. This problem is here now not some place in the distant future.

The vast amount of plastic trash that enters the oceans is a real problem, a problem that grows ever omnipresent on a hourly basis.

Plastic pollution is destroying the world’s ocean ecosystems. The real problem with all the plastic entering the oceans is the fact that it never degrades. It photodegrades into smaller and smaller pieces of plastic particles.

Billions upon billions of smaller and smaller plastic pieces have now become part of the food chain finally absorbed within zooplankton.

The oceans are constantly in motion.  Areas called gyres pull in waste from one part of the world and bring to other side of the world. As the plastic photodegrades into barely visible pieces, plankton have plastic debris in their bodies. Zooplankton are at the core of the marine food chain.

This situation is so dire that we have places in the oceans where plastic debris outnumbers plankton.

Unfortunately, that is not the worst of it. When birds, fish, and other sea creatures and  mammals ingest plastic debris which they mistake platic bottle caps and bits and pieces for food’ the consequences often lead to a long slow death.

When these creatures consume plastic debris they suffer with blockages of digestive tract followed by satiation, starvation and general debilitation and finally death.

According to The Royal Society of Biological Sciences additionally they suffer a reduction in quality of life and reproductive capacity; drowning and limited predator avoidance; impairment of feeding capacity.





Photo: AFP/Manan Vatsyayan

One of the most precious resources we have on planet earth is water … clean drinkable water.

Seventy-five percent (75%) of the world’s surface is covered in water, most of it is salt water which humans cannot drink.  A mere 2.5% of the earth’s water is fresh water; drinkable if we don’t pollute it with chemicals, trash, animal waste, run offs from farms,pesticides, and human waste.  Polluted water kills fish and marine life.  Polluted water sickens and kills people, most often in countries too poor to have sewage systems to protect the populace.

Those children are floating in one of the most polluted rivers on earth.  This is a picture of Yamuna River in India.  According to the Mother Nature Network this is one of the 15 most polluted places on earth to live.

The Yamuna is the largest tributary of the Ganges River. Where it flows through Delhi, it’s estimated that 58 percent of the city’s waste gets dumped straight into the river. Millions of Indians still rely on these murky, sewage-filled waters for washing, waste disposal and drinking water.

We  take clean water for granted.  Did you know that many of the world’s people walk at least 3 hours to gain access to water?

Read  more:

  • Each day almost 10,000 children under the age of 5 in Third World countries die as a result of illnesses contracted by use of impure water.
  • Fresh water is either groundwater (0,5%), or readily accessible water in lakes, streams, rivers, etc. (0,01%).
  • Two thirds of the water used in a home is used in the bathroom.
  • To flush a toilet we use 2 to 7 gallons of water.
  • In a five-minute shower we use  25 to 50 gallons of water.
  • To brush your teeth you use 2 gallons of water.
To learn more about what you can do to use water in a more responsible way check out the EPA’s Water Pollution Education Toolbox.  This is an excellent source of information for you and your family.
There are lessons plans for teachers and parents who are home schooling their children.


Wondering what the connection between Oprah’s weight gain, using less plastic in your life, and those pesky New Year’s resolutions could possibly be?


First, for those who are new to this site . . . a brief introduction. Our world is drowning in unnecessary plastic usage. It is an immense ecological disaster that few people are aware of and that every one contributes to.

Our Raison d’etre is information and transformation. For example did you know that:

  • Americans use 2.5 million plastic bottles every HOUR.

  • Plastic bags and other plastic garbage thrown into the ocean kill as many as 1 million sea creatures every year.

  • Today, Americans generate 10.5 million tons of plastic waste a year but recycle only 1 or 2 % of it.

  • An estimated 14 billion pounds of trash, much of it plastic is dumped in the world’s oceans every year.

The truth is that this is a world wide problem!!!

Every year, around 500 billion plastic bags are used worldwide. 500,000,000,000. Five hundred followed by nine zeros. That’s a lot of bags. So many that over one million bags are being used every minute and they’re damaging our environment.

OK, back to Oprah’s weight gain and the New Year’s resolutions that never seem to last more than a few weeks.

How this possibly to linked to using less plastic? Here how.

University studies have discovered that it takes approximately 6 to 9 months to change a habit, to change the brain’s pathways. No wonder people give up after a few weeks of trying to quit smoking, or dieting, or (yes!) trying to stop using plastic. No one ever told them that it takes times to change the brain’s pathways!

Our brains have enormous “plasticity,” meaning they can create new cells and pathways. But our brains create strong tendencies to do the same thing over and over.

The brain cells that fire together wire together. Meaning, they have a strong tendency to run the same program the next time. That’s why lasting change takes lots of practice; you’ve got to create a pathway to the new options.

When asked whether to use paper or plastic, I, like many others, have begun bringing reusable bags to shop. I am taking major steps to find ways to re-cycle and use less plastic on a daily basis, but the hardest thing remains remembering to bring my reusable bags to shop the next time. Don’t ask me how many times I’ve put the bags in the car, driven to the market, and walked into the store with the bags still in the car! (Argh!)

What’s the moral of all of this?

So many of us speed through life multi-tasking that we forget that our brains easily go into auto drive before we are even aware it. Whether you are trying to loose weight, stop smoking, or trying to change some other pattern of behavior . . . remember if you slip into the old bad habit you are trying to break, don’t beat up on yourself. Your brain needs to build up new patterns and that, as science is proving, takes time. So, forgive yourself, move on, and try again!

Oprah, you slipped, that’s all. Now, while I’ve got your attention. Remember to dispose of that plastic water bottle properly. Better still, can the bottled water and BYOB!