Did you know that studies have shown that about 12 million metric tons of plastic debris, including plastic bags, has accumulated in our oceans around the world? Due to this pollution, more than 100,000 marine animals die each year due to plastic entanglement! That is a startling number – and one that doesn’t show any signs of slowing its growth.
One thing you can do to help is to reduce the use of plastic in your own home. Beth Terry has a great book called “Plastic Free: How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and You Can Too” that can give you some guidance on how to reduce the use of plastic in your home. It’s hiding in more places than you realize!
However, what we really need to see is corporate responsibility when it comes to the use of plastic. More corporations need to reduce the use of plastic in manufacturing, packaging and at the point of sale.
Sacking plastic bags
One easy switch companies can make is to stop offering plastic bags for retail purchases. Here are a few companies that are leading the charge by not offering free plastic bags.
As part of their long-term partnership with Parley for the Oceans, Adidas is making a couple changes to do its part to help ensure plastic waste stops polluting our environment. They are using ocean plastic resources to design and create new Adidas apparel products. In addition, they are stopping their use of plastic bags in retail stores.
Ikea was one of the innovators in the plastic bag free movement. Back in 2008, they enacted a policy where shoppers could purchase an IKEA blue bag for $.59 or use their own reusable bag. If the customer did not want to bring or buy a reusable bag, they could purchase a plastic bag for five cents, with all proceeds going to American Forests to restore forests and help reduce CO2 emissions. As of 2008, 92% of Ikea shoppers were choosing reusable bags over plastic.
Costco, Sam’s Club and BJ’s Wholesale Club
These wholesale clubs don’t offer plastic bags for your purchases. Instead, they reuse the boxes that were used to ship merchandise from the manufacturer to the store. While this isn’t a change for these stores, it’s important to note if you’re looking to support businesses that use minimal plastic.
In Whole Foods’ Green Initiative Statement, they share that they have banned plastic bags in their stores. This policy is in addition to a number of other initiatives to promote sustainability.
Local Co-Ops and Health Stores
Many smaller local stores and chains are choosing to eliminate the use of plastic bags in their locations. New Pioneer, a small chain based in Iowa City, says it will no longer purchase plastic bags for its customers. Check with your smaller local stores and chains on their policies.
If you are looking to reduce plastic waste in your life, one of the easiest steps you can take is to stop accepting plastic shopping bags. Bring your own reusable bags and support stores that take a plastic free approach.
What other stores in your area have a plastic bag free policy?
Feature image courtesy of bobbi vie