Monday, November 19, 2012

Don't Be a Litter-bag This Holiday Season

It's almost here... that day of over-consumption. You thought I meant Thanksgiving? No, Black Friday! For those of you brave enough to venture out on Friday and for everyone shopping this holiday season, here is an eco-friendly tip to remember. Bring reusable bags with you when you go shopping. I know, they are sometimes hard to remember. I even forget to bring them sometimes. But leaving them by the door so you see them before you leave or in your car (great for unexpected shopping) can help you remember. You can even buy those little ones that fit in your purse or backpack. If you really make an effort, it becomes like a habit and you won't forget them as much. I promise; I speak from experience. I bring them to the grocery store and I even have a big one for the mall. If you consider the consequences of plastic bag production, you really shouldn't want to use them. Why is it important to stop using plastic bags? Here are some reasons...

Look, here is Rachel Bilson, a celebrity,
with a reusable bag. It's really important to do what they're
doing (ok, well in this case, yes).
You want to be like the celebrities, right?
  • Each year 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags are used worldwide.
  • The U.S. uses 100 billion bags annually, which requires 12 million barrels of oil. This oil costs $500 million. Reducing plastic bag production could reduce our dependence on this non-renewable resource.
  • 100,000 marine animals (dolphins, turtles, whales, etc.) die from plastic bags each year. They usually mistake them for jellyfish, try to eat them, and choke. Even if you throw out your bags and think they are going into a landfill, there is a chance they will fall off the garbage truck. Think about it... how many plastic bags do you see littering the streets? These get picked up by the wind and can easily be blown into the ocean.
  • 60,000 plastic bags are used in the U.S. every five seconds. Disturbing.
  • Plastic bags can take 400-1000 years to degrade and their chemical residues can remain long after that.

So knowing this, try to make an effort to reduce your plastic bag use from here on out, and especially during this holiday shopping season. Some places will even give you a discount for using reusable bags. If you do use plastic bags, make sure to at least bring them to a bag-recycling bin. You can find these bins in most supermarkets, and some stores like Macy's. If nothing else, think about the little seals and dolphins you'll be saving! Yeah, I'm pulling at your conscience.

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