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Although it seems as if the single-use grocery bag, has been around forever, it wasn't until 1977 that it was introduced to the supermarket industry as an alternative to paper bags. By 1996 about 80 percent of all grocery store bags were plastic. As the years went on people began to find many uses for the plastic bag like lining a garbage can and carrying wet stuff. The discarded, toxic plastic bags are now seen washing up on beaches by the thousands, clogging storm drains and getting tangled in all sorts of stuff.
Plastic shopping bags can last up to a thousand years in a landfill. In the environment, they break down into tiny, toxic particles that become part of the soil and water.
Sea turtles die every year from eating plastic bags mistaken for food
Canadians use on average 55 million plastic bags per week. 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags are used per year world wide.
Plastic bags are made from a petroleum byproduct. In the U.S.A alone, an estimated 12 million barrels of oil is used annually to make plastic bags that Americans consume.
Paper Bags Are Better Than Plastic, Right? NO, It takes 4 times as much energy to manufacture a paper bag. In 1999, 14 million trees were cut to produce 10 billion paper grocery bags used by Americans that year alone.
Degraded plastic pieces outweigh surface zooplankton in the central North Pacific by a factor of 6-1. That means six pounds of plastic for every single pound of zooplankton.
The average family accumulates 60 plastic bags in only four trips to the grocery store.
A growing list of communities & countries are beginning to rethink their dependence on plastic bags. A complete or partial ban has been approved in Australia, South Africa, parts of India, China, Italy, Bangladesh, Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Taiwan & San Francisco, L.A., Hawaii and more!.
L.A. the largest city in America to Ban Plastic Bags.
With nearly 4 million residents, L.A. goes through an estimated 2.7 billion plastic grocery bags a year, according to city officials.
Read Story on Santa Monica Banning Plastic Bags
Hawaii Bans Plastic Bags.
Conservationists estimate that at least 100,000 mammals and birds die every year in Hawaii as a result of coming into contact with plastic bags. Conservationists suspect that fish die by the millions each year because of plastic bags.
Read story on why B.C. does not Support a Plastic Bag Ban.
Vancouver has an aim to be the Greenest City in the world by 2020. Christy Clark believes most Vancouverites are sufficiently motivated to use cloth bags even without a ban. The Retail Council Canada estimates there are 1.5 billion bags distributed in B.C. each year.
Rawanda implements very successful plastic bag ban.
Before the ban plastic bags littered the streets, blocked the drains and streams and rendered plots of land impossible to cultivate. The law was passed in Sept 2008 banning the manufacture, use, import and sale of polythene bags was passed. Today people can cultivate the land and have flowing water. If you bring a plastic bag to Rawanda you will get fined.