July 3rd marks the 10th annual International Plastic Bag Free Day, calling for an end to single-use plastic bags. Zero Waste Europe started the day back in 2009. Now, opposition of plastic bags is in full force, and growing across the globe, as states and even entire countries introduce legislative bans.
According to a UN environment report on single-use plastics, “1 to 5 trillion plastic bags are consumed worldwide every year. If tied together, 5 trillion plastic bags would cover an area twice the size of France.”
If you can’t fathom that, just think of the number of bags you use in one trip to the grocery store!
Plastic bags have been helping people conveniently carry their items since the 1970s, but on average plastic bags are only used for 25 minutes or less. It takes somewhere between 100-500 years for a plastic bag to decompose, depending on the type of plastic it’s made from. This means, every plastic bag that you’ve used in your lifetime will most likely outlive you.
Refusing to use plastic bags is the best way to keep these bad boys out of the environment. And no, you cannot recycle plastic bags through your curbside recycling program.
Here are a few tips to help you eliminate plastic bags from your life:
- If you’re only getting a few items, just say, “No bag, please” and carry your things out.
- Use reusable shopping and produce bags for your bigger trips.
- Bring your own paper bags to the bulk bins instead of using the provided plastic bags. Rice, nuts and coffee are easy items to start with.
BYOB… bring your own (reusable) bag. It’s as simple as that.