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article imageOp-Ed: Plastic Bags, The Bane Of Society?

By KJ Mullins     Mar 29, 2008 in Environment
The evil of plastic bags is making the news again. More and more communities are banning the use of the easy sacks in favor of reusable bags. It's a great idea but how bad are those plastic jewels of the dump to begin with?
Compared to cloth or paper the bags don't stand up the test of time. Stores have to use more bags to pack less product. The result is an overflow of bags threatening to take over storage space at your home. It's the landfills and the oil that is used to make these bags that see more cities banning their use.
It was thought that these bags would make an impact when they first started showing up. Spare the trees and all that jazz. They spread through the towns like kudzu on Red Bull. Bags tossed like common litter showed up in roadside drains flooding streets and suffocating wildlife.
The plastic bag will survive. For thousands of years the plastic will remain as strong as it is today. Good news for those in the future researching their idea of early man.
The "Great Pacific Garbage Patch" in the North Pacific Gyre contains six times as much plastic as it does plankton. Some of those uneducated sea creatures think that the plastic bags that float in the ocean are jellyfish, food, yum, death. Cool, huh?
You think your kitchen bag area is a mess? Consider the seafloor in the North-Western Mediterranean. The seafloor has a high mean concentration of debris, 77% of that debris is plastic and 92.8% of the plastic is in the form of bags.
The good news is that plastic bags can by recycled. The bad news is that only 1% are.
There are some decent uses for spare plastic bags. They makes a great pet pooper scooper.
On the other hand there are cloth bags on the market that can carry more product, be used on a continual basic and look pretty snazzy to boot.
Maybe the future will see stores giving a discount to those who supply their own cloth bags. Now that would make an impact. If people are paid to be good to the environment it just may make a difference.
More about Plastic bags, Paper bags, Cloth bags
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