Single-Use Plastic Bags & Bottles Destructive to Our Oceans, Our World

There was a time, not that long ago when you would see countless cigarette butts littering the landscape. Then, something happened ever so slowly, the ugly disgusting cigarette butts began disappearing from bars and restaurants, parking lots, sidewalks, beaches, ashtrays in public and private buildings.

People finally got the message that smoking was not cool but was detrimental to health of everyone surrounded by the smoker.

Can the same thing happen with single-use plastic bags and bottles? I think it can … with YOUR help.  Imagine a world without plastic debris and SAY NO TO PLASTICS

The City of Los Angeles is saying NO to plastic bags

PLASTIC WORLD 3

The Los Angeles City Council recently gave approval to an ordinance that will ban single use plastic bags. The ban will be effect beginning in January of 2014 for large retailers. Smaller businesses will be expected to comply beginning in June of 2014.

The bag ban makes Los Angeles the largest city in the country to ban the ubiquitous plastic bag. This is great news for activists worldwide. In addition to saving the environment the ban is projected to save Los Angeles $2 million a year in clean up costs of  plastic litter.

In an effort to help low-income families, Los Angeles is planning  to give out 1 million reusable bags in low-income areas.

San Francisco, Laguna Beach, and Santa Monica already have plastic bag bans in place.

Mark Murray, Executive Director of Californians Against Waste, said in a statement, “By 2014, more than one-third of Californians — 13 million people — will live in communities that no longer have to deal with the scourge and cost of single use plastic grocery bags,” 

Poll: Is There a Plastic Bag Ban Coming to a City Near You?

Cities across the country are resorting to bans as a way to reduce the impact and harmful effects of single-use plastic bag. Los Angeles joins San Francisco, Toronto, Westport, Connecticut and the State of Hawaii, all with single-use bans in place.

In May 2012, Los Angeles became the largest city in the nation to approve the banning of single-use plastic bags at supermarket checkout lines. The ban will be phased in over the next 16 months. Shoppers will need to bring reusable bags or purchase paper bags for 10 cents each.

Cities that have instituted these bans have seen a dramatic decrease in the damage single-use plastic bags cause our environment. How do you feel?

More & More Reasons to Say No to Plastics

There are more and more reasons to Say No to Plastics. Most single-use plastic bags are used an average of 12 minutes by U.S. consumers, yet their real life span, unless recycled, is many hundreds of years. The plastic trash building up in our oceans is a ticking time bomb.

The statistics below are from a recent Huff Post Green article which asks, “Did you just eat a plastic bag?” For a more complete look view it here.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency reports the following data on plastic products in the American municipal waste stream for 2008 alone:

1. Plastic Plates and Cups: 780,000 tons were produced, and all 780,000 tons were discarded.
2. Plastic Trash Bags: 930,000 tons were produced, and all 930,000 were discarded.
3. Plastic Bags, Sacks and Wraps: 3,960,000 tons were produced. 9.8% was recovered (390,000). 3,570,000 tons were discarded.
4. “Other” non-durable goods including plastic disposable diapers, footwear and clothing: amounted to 4,810,000 tons produced with all 4,810,000 tons discarded.
5. PET Bottles and Jars: 2,680,000 tons were produced, 27.2 % were recovered (730,000 tons) and 1,950,000 tons were discarded.
6. HDPE (white translucent homopolymer bottles): 750,000 tons were produced, and 29.3 % (220,000 tons) were recovered. 530,000 tons were discarded.
7. “Other Plastic Packaging” including coatings, closures, lids, caps, clam shells, egg cartons, produce baskets, trays, shapes, and loose fill: 3,720,000 tons were produced. 3% (110,000 tons) were recovered, and 3 Million 610 Thousand Tons were discarded.

 

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HOW TO SWITCH FROM PLASTIC BAGS TO REUSABLES

Earth Day 2012 is a great time to step back and finally stop using those plastic bags you know are so harmful to our environment. Convenience is no longer a reason to justify using a product that essentially lives forever, never biodegrading.

Plastic manufacturers estimate that the average person in this country uses 500 plastic grocery bags per year! This is a stunning number to say the least considering the amount of time each bag is used to carry something.

Now that you’ve made the decision to stop using plastic bags you will need to determine how many reusable bags are right for your family. A minimum of 4 or 5 reusable bags per household vehicle is a good starting point.

Most grocery, drug, and big box stores sell them for 99 cents apiece, a small investment that brings exceptional benefits for the environment.

Consider a small foldable reusable bag to take with you in your purse. It will come in handy for quick trips to the store.

The hardest part of switching from plastic to reusable bags is remembering to bring your bags when you shop! It may take several weeks for you in integrate this new habit into your shopping routine and life style.

Purchasing a Bagnesia steering wheel wrap to trigger your memory to bring those bags with you before you shop will make the switch infinitely easier. Don’t get discouraged and don’t give up. We all forget.

Here’s a great tip. Make sure you put your reusable bags back in your car as soon as your groceries are put away. Trust me, the likelihood you will remember to take your bags with you (the ones you left in the kitchen on a table or on a chair), is remote.

Once you start using reusable bags you will find yourself wanting to do more. You will need to establish new routine for handling all that plastic you bring home with you from the grocery store. All those plastic bottles, egg cartons, plastic wrap from food stuffs, packaging surrounding batteries and other hard goods need to be collected and recycled.

I keep a separate bin for collecting the plastic trash that comes into my home every time I shop. I have a plan in place for recycling the plastic trash and keeping it separate from the trash collected by the city.

The last part of your new program concerns recycling all that plastic trash you and your family will collect every week. If your city or town has a separate collection program for plastic in all its forms, great. If not, consideration will have to be given to bringing back the plastic for collection at a recycling point.

Publix has plastic collection bins in front of their stores, but only for certain kinds of plastic.  Harry’s (Whole Foods) has the best plastic collection program allowing for all types of plastics including plastic bottles.