There is a little matter which I haven’t seen too much discussion about recently, so I thought I’d throw this out there.
A plea has recently been shouted out concerning the use of plastic bags. We read:
If you love the outdoors, and I really mean this, you’ve got to say no to plastic bags. Plain and simple. It is totally out of control.
Trillions of plastic bags are used annually worldwide. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reported that Americans discarded more than 3.3 million tons of polyethylene bags, sacks and wraps in 2005. Of those, only 5.4 percent were recycled.
You can see why there’s an island of plastic trash the size of Texas floating in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
From a 2004 article, we read:
Macdonald, who is also an underwater filmmaker, said he has seen
albatross parents fly huge distances to feed their young a deadly diet
of plastic bottle caps, lighters and light sticks.
“The sheer volumes of plastic in oceans are staggering,” he said. In
recent years Algalita researchers have sampled a huge area in the
middle of the North Pacific, and found six pounds of plastic for every
pound of algae.
About 250 billion pounds of raw plastic pellets are produced annually
worldwide and turned into a tremendous variety of products, from cars
and computers to packaging and pens.
A more recent story on plastic pollution can also be found at The New York Times.
When I lived in Germany for a while, at first I did find needing to bring my bags for groceries quite the hassle. But, you know, I got used to it and it became the most automatic and natural thing to do. We are on a personal level, resurrecting that habit here in California when we shop, to keep away from collecting so much plastic (in addition to minimizing buying water and other juice bottles). Habits can be picked up by the general public from example, and we can hope that the cumulative effect will eventually have some positive impact. So that is a little something anyone can do to help with the environment. BYOB! Bring your bags!