Stop using single use plastic bags! Did you know that most single use plastic bags are used for approximately 12 minutes but the damage they do to our environment in this very short amount of time is enormous.
The average American family uses around 1,500 plastic shopping bags per year. 80% of those bags end up in the ocean. 100,000 marine animals are killed by plastic bags every year. For those that end up in the landfill, it takes at least 500 years to partially degrade. According to the United Nations, up to 5 trillion single use plastic bags are used worldwide every single year.
Only around 2% of plastic bags are recycled. The rest are either floating around the ocean and killing marine life and birds, sitting in the landfill for generations to enjoy, or floating around and polluting our environment. Many bags that end up in landfills don't actually stay there. They get caught in the wind and away they go. Children may giggle at the sight of flying plastic bags, but unfortunately, those bags are ruining our environment. Did you know that plastic bags have been found as far as the Arctic Circle?
One more reason to ditch the plastic bags is that they are made with petroleum, which is a non-renewable resource and bad for our environment.
But, it's not all bad news for our planet. People are changing, cities are changing, and planet protectors all over the world are standing up for our planet and making changes. Over 60 countries are banning plastic bags or charging fees and penalties for those who continue to use them. In July 2018, some of Australia’s largest retail chains banned single use plastic bags.
There is no excuse to still be using plastic bags. Reusable bags are inexpensive, easy to keep clean, and they last for a long time. Keep a stack in your car so you have them ready when you go shopping. If you carry a purse, tuck a few in there so you are never left without one. If you find yourself at a store without one of your bags, do as I do, buy another reusable bag. It's a good investment as you are sure to keep using it for years to come.
Ask your kids to get involved. Give them the job of remembering to bring your reusable bags before going shopping. Kids love to have the responsibility and it gets them started caring for our planet at a young age. Make it fun. Create a chart for them to mark off every time they remember to bring the bags. When the chart if full, treat them to a day of hiking or swimming at the beach.