Plastic bags may seem like harmless little things. Just a small thing we use and discard on a daily basis, right? Wrong. Though they seem so insignificant, plastic bags are some of the biggest pollutants on Earth, and here’s why:
- According to Waste Management, only 1 percent of plastic bags are returned for recycling. That means that the average family only recycles 15 bags a year; the rest ends up in landfills as litter.
- Up to 80 percent of ocean plastic pollution enters the ocean from land. This means that most of the plastic bags we use are dumped into the ocean after staying a landfill.
- At least 267 different species have been affected by plastic pollution in the ocean. This has led to the endangerment of several species.
- 100,000 marine animals are killed by plastic bags annually. One in three leatherback sea turtles have been found with plastic in their stomachs.
- Plastic bags are used for an average of 12 minutes. It takes such a little time to be used, and ends up abandoned in a landfill or in some sea turtle’s stomach.
- It takes 500 (or more) years for a plastic bag to degrade in a landfill. Unfortunately the bags don’t break down completely but instead photo-degrade, becoming microplastics that absorb toxins and continue to pollute the environment.
It is very easy to avoid all of these dire consequences just by using a reusable bag. Such a simple thing to do, yet it can save lives!