You may not see them on your list, but paper and plastic bags are the deadliest items you can find at a grocery store. These pollutants are widely available, often for free, and have become a part of many people’s daily lives outside the market. But while paper and plastic bags are sometimes reused for lunch-bags or picking up after pets, their production and ultimate destination result in horrific environmental consequences.
American shoppers use more than 100 billion lightweight polyethylene plastic bags each year, and only a small portion are ever recycled1. Most recycling centers can’t deal with them — they just clog up the machinery2.
In the ocean, marine animals mistake floating bags for food3. Just one nibble can be deadly. Plastic bags can block the digestive tract, causing a slow and agonizing death. Other animals are strangled when bags wrap around their bodies. In all, thousands of marine animals—including sea turtles, seals, seabirds, dolphins, whales, and sharks—die each year because of plastic bags3.
It takes 1,000 years for a plastic bag to degrade in a landfill. Unfortunately, the bags don’t break down completely but instead photo-degrade, becoming microplastics that absorb toxins and continue to pollute the environment4.
Each drop of water in the Earth’s oceans now contains trillions of these tiny indigestible microplastics that accumulate as they move up the food-chain5.
Don’t be a part of the problem — be THE solution. Take reusable bags to the grocery store, and encourage others to do the same. Sign the pledge to bring AT LEAST ONE reusable bag each time you take a trip to the supermarket — it could change the world!
Click below to make a difference
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