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Recyclopedia: Plastic Grocery and Shopping Bags

Plastic Grocery and Shopping Bags

Avoid using plastic disposable bags. They are not necessary and are a waste of oil.

If you must use them now and then, recycle at your local store. Most grocery stores and department stores have a collection box. For locations go to www.plasticbagrecycling.org

The follow are accepted: retail and produce bags, bread and food storage bags, newspaper and dry-cleaning bags, product wraps.

Statistics: The world uses between 500 billion and 1 trillion plastic grocery bags a year. About 3 percent become litter-hanging from fences or trees, clogging storm drains, and causing problems for wildlife. Some bags are recycled, but 50% end up as waste. 67 bags weigh 1 pound, so 500 billion bags= 7,462,685,567 pounds of white plastic grocery bags going to landfills each year. Pound for pound, plastics contain as much energy as petroleum or natural gas, so this represents the loss of almost 4 billion tons of energy each year. More information here This enormous use of materials can be avoided if we each kept a few reusable shopping bags handy. As we reduce our “garbage" through Recyclopedia and other means, our use of plastic trash bags is also reduced. Ireland started taxing plastic bags a couple of years back, leading the world on a movement that is catching on elsewhere also. BBC reported the exercise a huge success. “A tax on plastic shopping bags in the Republic of Ireland has cut their use by more than 90% and raised millions of euros in revenue, the government says". Taiwan and Singapore are also moving to ban free plastic bags and in South Africa they have been dubbed the "national flower" because so many can be seen flapping from fences and caught in bushes.