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Blog item: Plastic Bags: Say 'No!'

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11 comments, last: Apr-30-2011   Add a comment   Author: cottonbag (May-27-2009)    Play a Video
Categories: Pollution, Population Growth and Control, Sustainable Living, Wildlife and Nature

Turtles become entangled in, and mistakenly consume, plastic bagsMaybe you thought that accepting and using plastic bags was harmless? Think again!  You are actively helping to make the world a worse place if you accept or use plastic bags. Those bags are not biodegradable, meaning they do not decompose on their own like a lot of alternative products would.
 
What became of the hundreds of plastic bags some of you used last year?  They are piling up in landfills and in drainage systems, and are being dumped in ocean fills which is killing our marine life.

Plastic bags are not a cool thing to be seen with, it's official. Look at the latest fashion trends, everyone cool is carrying eco-friendly cotton bags, and the "in" thing is to reuse and recycle!  You are actually following a global business, personal, and fashion trend and also helping your neighborhood, your country and the world to become a better, less toxic and a cleaner place to live in. If you do not get what the big deal is about abandoning plastic bags, then consider this – every year the average person uses between 200-300 plastic shopping bags. Now if you live in a place that has maybe a hundred people, the numbers run into 20,000 – 30,000 plastic bags and then when you think about your city, the number runs in to millions.  These bags clog disposal sites, and when they break into smaller pieces of plastic they choke or poison land and marine life – some of which we humans consume, ingesting the toxins in the plastic at the same time in detectable and potentially dangerous quantities.  Many of the chemicals being found in human samples of blood or skin are known to potentially disrupt the immune system, cause cancers, or have other serious effects.

Some countries are taking measures to ensure that people are made to stop using plastic bags. Ireland ingeniously levied a hefty 'plas tax'. Cool name, yes and it caused cool things to happen too. It made the plastic bag usage go down 90% in the very first month and it also raised 3.5 million Euros in tax revenue that was put in to green project funds. Other places like South Africa and Scotland are considering levying such a fine. India has seen a partial ban on plastic bags, whereby some states have stopped using plastic bags altogether. Some places in the US, UK and other European countries have stopped giving away free plastic bags to reduce consumption.

It is sad to see plastic bags flying around everywhere, marring the beauty of neighborhoods. Trust me, places like Ireland look a lot better now that they are moving towards being free of plastic bags.

This initiative has been supported by the international fashion community who have designed fashionable cotton and canvas bags as alternatives. The main materials being used in reusable bags are tough fibers like jute and hemp. Hemp is preferred over others for its strength and longevity.  A little at a time, industry is adapting better ways to manufacture while minimizing damage to the environment.  Informed consumers, choosing and re-using such products, help motivate these manufacturers.

Related PlanetThoughts.org reading:
  A World Of Plastic (Article And InfoGraphic) (Aug-2-2011)
  I Think This Is A Good Idea, At Least Where I Li... (May-13-2011)
  The Majestic Plastic Bag (Jan-27-2011)
  Recycling? What A Waste. (Oct-17-2010)
  Climate Change Activist Glues Herself To Desk In... (Aug-21-2010)
  Vegan Jelloware Re-Invents The Disposable Cup (Aug-14-2010)
  Dirty Little Secret: Who Wants To Live Forever (... (May-19-2010)
  World Bank OKs $3B For World's 4th Largest Coal ... (Apr-14-2010)
  China Blistering Past US In Green Investment (Mar-30-2010)
  World Misled Over Himalayan Glacier Meltdown (Jan-25-2010)

Click one tag to see readings related specifically to that tag; click "Tags" to see all related readings
  
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Comment by: City Worker (Apr-30-2011)   
Canvas bags seem like an idea in the right direction. Unfortunately, the prices of canvas bags and other bags approaching the water tightness of plastic bags, are much pricier than plastic bags. Maybe it would be worthwhile trying to come up with a solution involving less bags rather than alternatives to plastic bags. Although we don’t want to go back to the days when paper garbage bags were dumped into incinerators and the garbage was incinerated, maybe we could think in terms of modifying the whole handling of garbage. The only solution I can think of, which, also, seems too pricey, involves the compacting of garbage by households, on a large scale.
  
Comment by:  PT (David Alexander) (Aug-21-2010)   Web site

I have actually tried to find a way to avoid using a plastic bag to dispose of garbage. I only use bags in the kitchen -- the workers collecting garbage do request that all garbage be in bags, not loose.

I tried two brands of compostable bags. The first brand would tear if you looked at it the wrong way. Not good. More recently, I found a brand that is thicker. But I found that with the wetness of the garbage it partially dissolves by the time I am ready to dispose of the garbage, leading to piles of wet smelly garbage falling in the wrong place. So, some more bright ideas, and improved replacements for plastic, still seem to be needed. I think it will happen, but may take a few more years. If anyone knows a good product for wet garbage, please share it here!
  
Comment by: City Worker (Aug-20-2010)   

Yesterday, I was in a chain supermarket that doesn’t sell plastic bags. I was wondering: How do their customers dispose of their garbage?
  
Comment by: Jute Bags (Jute Bags) (Aug-20-2010)   Web site

The use of plastic bags is harmful. The image showing in the topic: "Plastic Bags: Say 'No!' " is a bright example of this.
  
Comment by: cottonbag (Tilly Flynn) (Apr-20-2010)   Web site

This initiative has been supported by the international fashion community who have designed fashionable cotton and canvas bags as alternatives.

It is sad to see plastic bags flying around everywhere, marring the beauty of neighborhoods.
  
Comment by:  PT (David Alexander) (Aug-8-2009)   Web site

Whatever you can do... and by the way, when you turn down the plastic bags in stores (as politely as you can) you get into some interesting conversations. People ask you why you do it, and all kinds of interesting thoughts get shared, much of the time.
  
Comment by: City Worker (Aug-8-2009)   

Regarding my specific quesiton, a partial solution, which I now do, which I am happy with, is to place whatever food can be reasonably placed, without being repackaged, directly into the freezer. Not only does it cut down on the number of plastic bags being used, it saves a good deal of one's time and energy taken up by repackaging the food..
  
Comment by: EcoTrendbags (Aug-7-2009)   Web site

The Earth has been facing immense pollution from our garbage and consumption. The latest deadly pollution is plastic bags that fill up the landfills. With plastic bags becoming a growing concern, cotton bag has become the new way to help stop the pollution.
With plastic bag pollution being a rising concern, many shoppers need to start using reusable cotton bags in order to stop the pollution.
Plastic bag pollution is very deadly and takes hundreds of years to break down. Even if the component is broken done, the deadly chemicals will go into the ground and water system. By reducing the usage of plastic bag, Earth can recuperate. That's why cotton bags should be used world wide to help reduce the pollution.
It is our generation to stop the pollution and start using cotton bags as the solution. With global warming going out of hand from gas exhaustion, we don't need any more problems especially plastic bags that are harmful when broken down naturally. These broken down elements cause sickness and destruction to the air, soil and water system.
Use cotton canvas bags starting today as a way to stop the plastic pollution that is becoming a major threat to the environment. Our lives are threatened ever more from the growing usage of plastic bags. It is time you bring a canvas bag to shopping the next time you go to a supermarket.
Please learn more at http://www.ecotrendbags.com/
  
Comment by: City Worker (Jun-2-2009)   

Thanks. I should have mentioned that wrapping in aluminum foil that wouldn't be reused, or using hard plastic re-usable containers came up in my discussions, and I discounted them, because they are wasteful of space (but there's a tradeoff here) maybe too soon. Waxed paper is an interested idea --- wonder if it would work.
  
Comment by:  PT (David Alexander) (Jun-2-2009)   Web site

There has been some discussion of increasing the use of waxed paper and cardboard containers for wholesale commercial food packaging. I think a good long-term end-user answer is a non-disposable container made of metal or glass, or even the common hard plastic re-usable, sealable containers e.g. Tupperware.
  
Comment by: City Worker (Jun-1-2009)   

I buy packaged meat, chicken, and fish, which I transfer into plastic bags with zippers, before I freeze the stuff. I don’t really know why, and wonder if I can cut down or eliminate my use of these plastic bags. I transfer the stuff after preparing and/or dividing the stuff I get in packages on Styrofoam trays, wrapped in plastic wrap. I’ve spoken to others, who all, more or less, do the same. I was wondering if there is an alternative to this relatively large use of plastic bags (no, becoming a vegetarian is not the answer I am looking for). I see that plastic bag companies are coming out with thinner bags, which they say are more economically friendly, but that’s not quite there. I believe the plastic bags with zippers best keep the moisture or something in the meat and prevent liquids from pouring out, and make sure patties which don’t stay together well don’t slip out of the bags before the food is frozen. I was wondering: would plastic without zippers be acceptable? How about wrapping the meat in plastic wrap? Are there any ecologically better solutions, which won’t much degrade the storage process?

  
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About author/contributor cottonbag (Tilly Flynn)
   Web site: http://www.bagitdontbinit.com

Due to the nature of my job I spend a lot of time browsing Web sites and articles which spread the word about the damages being done to our environment. My eyes are always being opened to new steps we can take to help save our planet.

I work in product research for Bag It Don’t Bin It. We supply eco-friendly alternatives to plastic bags; we want to do our part for the environment and to get people to make the change from plastic bags to an alternative, durable, more environmentally-friendly type of bag.

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