A recent survey on Earth911.com showed that Earth911 users are doing their part to reduce their plastic bag use. Of the options given, half (50.0 percent) carry reusable shopping bags to reduce disposable bag use.
While reusable bags were popular responses to the question posed[poll id=”108″ type=”result”]:
- Only 8 percent responded that they carpooled.
- 25 percent enjoy using CFLs at home.
- 16 percent check our their local farmer’s markets for organic produce.
Recent changes in plastic bag legislation across the U.S. has made reusable bags more popular. Additionally, many countries around the world have enacted bag laws to reduce their citizens use of disposable bags. Grocery chains across the nation are also incentivizing reusable bag use, providing donations to charitable organizations and/or refunds on purchases.
Each year, about 380 billion plastic bags, sacks and wraps are used. Of these 380 billion, only about 5 percent was recycled in 2005.
Due to their lightweight nature, plastic bags are one of the most popular forms of marine debris and are easily mistaken for food by fish and wildlife. In fact, small plastic bags made up about 9 percent of the debris found along various U.S. coasts in a five-year study.
Recycling plastic bags helps not only reduce our consumption of virgin materials, but also energy and carbon emissions. When one ton of plastic bags is reused or recycled, the energy equivalent of 11 barrels of oil is saved. By utilizing reusable bags, the initial energy expenditure in creating this disposable product is eliminated.