Focus Shoppers: Do You Really Need That Plastic Bag?

“The plastic bag is an recognized portion of Canada’s buying lifestyle, but it shouldn’t be. Every yr we use above nine billion plastic shopping baggage in Canada. That is 17,000 luggage a minute.”

– Greener Footprints

Canadians use nine-fifteen billion plastic buying luggage every single calendar year

To get a truly feel for just how a lot of bags that in fact is, photo this: if we tied 9 billion bags jointly, they would circle the earth 55 instances (Greener Footprints).

Holy Dinah!

Every year it’s approximated among 500 billion and 1 trillion plastic bags are utilized throughout the world. Though they were not extensively utilised till the nineteen eighties, their effect has presently been felt all around the world.

A quick stroll via your neighbourhood can frequently expose how pervasive plastic bags are when it comes to the issue of litter. Hanging from tree branches or tangled in hedges, plastic luggage have turn out to be a depressing fixture in urban inexperienced areas like parks, schoolyards, and sports fields. This sort of litter is not only unpleasant it can also lead to major environmental troubles.

Big buildups of discarded plastic luggage can clog drainage methods and lead to key floods. These kinds of flooding brought on popular destruction in Bangladesh in 1988 and 1998. Manila has also been vulnerable to flooding as a end result of plastic-bag clogged sewers. In 2009, far more than eighty% of the Philippines’ money was submerged. Hundreds were killed and 1000’s a lot more were still left homeless when total neighbourhoods have been swept absent.

Other aquatic chaos created by plastic baggage has proven fatal to these who stay in the water as properly.

About leather purses ,000 whales, seals, turtles and other maritime animals are killed every 12 months by plastic luggage, which can strangle their victims or lead to them to starve to dying, according to Planet Ark, an international environmental team. A dead gray whale that washed ashore in Seattle in 2010 was found to have more than 20 plastic luggage in its stomach.

A 2012 College of British Columbia review identified that ninety three per cent of beached northern fulmars (migratory seabirds relevant to the albatross) experienced bellies complete of plastic – a considerable improve from the very last time they had been analyzed, in 1980.

In truth, plastic packaging is accumulating so quickly, it’s expected to outnumber fish in the sea by 2050, in accordance to a latest report by the Planet Financial Discussion board.


According to the David Suzuki Foundation, “Handful of plastic luggage are recycled. Most are used for a brief time to have groceries, and then probably re-employed as garbage baggage or to wrap puppy poop prior to ending up in the landfill or the ocean. Some individuals argue that, since they make up about one particular for each cent of the quantity of squander in landfills, we should not fret. But a single for each cent of the enormous quantities of what’s in landfills is a lot, especially given that plastic doesn’t biodegrade.”

Most plastic luggage are created from polyethylene and can consider hundreds of several years to decompose.

But actions are currently being taken to decrease the environmental footprint of plastic luggage. Use of plastic baggage is both restricted or completely banned in above a quarter of the world’s countries.

China, Italy, Bangladesh, South Africa, and components of Australia have banned plastic luggage outright, whilst municipal bans exist in elements of India, Mexico, Britain, the U.S., and Canada.

Plastaxes – taxes on plastic luggage paid by consumers – and new recycling rules have also been brought in to aid deal with the problem.

In February 2016, Walmart Canada began phasing out a single-use purchasing baggage at Canadian Walmart merchants. In location of these, clients will be offered discounted reusable luggage for twenty five cents. But plastic bags will nevertheless be provided for 5 cents in an hard work to minimize the quantity of single-use baggage they distribute.

In my neck of the woods (Sidney, British Columbia), the grocery keep I regular isn’t going to have plastic grocery bags but they do provide solitary-use brown paper bags – or, of program, you can use reusable grocery bags or a reusable cardboard box, specifically developed to keep the fat of groceries. My personalized desire is a box and many reusable luggage.

Though my group is supposedly quite environmentally-friendly, I would have to say that, based mostly on my personal observations, the majority of the grocery store buyers nonetheless decide on the single-use brown paper bag over the reusable bag and/or box. And I’m not positive why. Convenience, possibly?

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