Washington (GGM) Analysis | November 30, 2019
by Noreen Wise
The holiday shopping season has begun. Packed malls and stores from coast to coast. American consumers are expected to spend nearly a half trillion dollars from Thanksgiving through December 25, 2019. But how many US shoppers will rely on their reusable bags at every store they visit?
Prior to 1977, stores offered paper bags to shoppers. But once the first plastic shopping bags appeared in 1977, the switch to plastic was swift and furious and by the end of the 1990’s, the vast majority of retail outlets across the globe relied on single-use plastic. According to The World Counts:
- we consume 5 trillion single-use plastic bags per year
- 160,000 single-use plastic bags per second
- but sadly, less than 1% of these are recycled
- single-use plastic bags are made from oil, gas & coal which produce a significant amount of carbon
- one ton of recycled single-use plastic bags equals 11 barrels of oil
- the public’s seeming indifference to the extensive damage single-use plastic causes the environment, as well as it’s impact on climate change, has resulted in several states stepping in to regulate the use of single-use plastic bags
According to U.S. News & World Report:
- Connecticut just passed a law that went into effect August 1 2019, banning single-use plastic bags in grocery stores and restaurants by July 2021. Some grocery store chains and restaurants have already begun transitioning patrons to the ban by ditching all plastic bags and charging shoppers .10 cents for paper bags, as well as passing along a discount to shoppers who bring their own reusables. Businesses that continue to provide singles-use plastic bags these next 19 months will charge shoppers a .10 cent tax for each plastic bag. This is an excellent model for other states to follow.
- California was the very first state to ban single-use plastic bags back in 2014, and San Francisco was the first US city in 2007
- New York jumped in and banned single-use plastic bags on Earth Day 2019; the ban will go into effective March of 2020
- Hawaii hasn’t officially banned these deadly bags, but beginning in 2015 every county in the state has barred them, so Hawaii too is included in the count of state bans
The Center for Biological Diversity has provided a critical list of key facts about the harm of single-use plastic bags:
- the average American household uses 1,500 sing-use plastic shopping bags per year
- 80% of the oceans’ massive toxic plastic island, the size of France, floating in the Pacific, comes from the plastic’s use on land
- once it begins swirling around in the ocean, plastic is broken down into micro plastic fragments the size of rice and ingested by the majority of marine mammals
- 267 marine species are impacted by plastic
- each year, 100,000 marine animals die from plastic consumption
- once dumped in a landfill, it will take 500+ years for a plastic bag to degrade
It’s time to ACT. SAVE a LIFE this Holiday Season. There’s no need to wait for a ban in our states. Shop with REUSABLE bags at EVERY store beginning immediately.
Let’s GO. We can do this!
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