6 Reasons to Stop Using Plastic Bags

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:

  1. 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.hermes-rivera-265412-unsplash
  2. 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.
  3. At least 267 different species have been affected by plastic pollution in the ocean. This has led to the endangerment of several species.
  4. 100,000 marine animals are killed by plastic bags annually. One in three leatherback sea turtles have been found with plastic in their stomachs.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

christian-bowen-1399791-unsplashIt 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!

Photos by Christine Wehrmeier, Hermes Rivera and Christian Bowen on Unsplash

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