The Environmental Impact of Plastic Bags

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Paper bags have many advantages of their own, but one of the most compelling reasons to use them is simply that you won’t be contributing to the plastic bag problem. These cheap, non-biodegradable bags have become a huge issue all across the world.

Danger to Aquatic Life

Plastic bags harm all manner of animals, but those who live in the sea are most at risk. Bags are easily and commonly mistaken for food, either because they contain the residue of actual food or because they bear some similarity to an animal’s natural prey.

Choking is common, but many bags are completely ingested. This leads to a slow, painful death due to the fact that no real food can be digested. The number of plastic bags already in the ocean is astounding, so we need to start reversing this trend as soon as possible.

Littering the World

Plastic bags can take hundreds of years to biodegrade, and yet they’re typically only use once before being thrown away. This means that many find their way to landfill, but plenty more are left to litter the environment.

This doesn’t just destroy the world’s natural scenery, it also represents an enormous public expenditure, as governments spend millions having to deal with clean-up efforts. Plastic bags might seem cheap at the till, but you’re paying for them in more ways than one.

Wasted Resources

Plastic bags are made using energy-intensive processes which contribute hugely to the amount of harmful emissions being released into the atmosphere. This harms the planet, and it also represents a complete waste of our resources.

Almost all plastic bags are used only once, and just a small percentage are ever collected for recycling. This means that all that energy is expended and all those materials used up simply to hold shopping during one trip back from the supermarket.

Paper bags are easily recyclable, and can be repurposed in numerous ways. They also break down far faster than plastic, and don’t inadvertently contribute to the deaths of any animals. Next time you’re considering whether to go for paper or plastic, keep these effects in mind.