Now that the public drive to end the tremendous waste and environmental damage stone by shopping bags is picking up steam, cities across America are taking action and banning plastic bags. And Hawaii has recently became the first state to do so.
Of course, all this banning of plastic shopping bags has, rather predictably, led to a huge outpouring of reasons why paper shopping bags are really, really bad.
A little peek behind the scenes confirms that—yes, you called it—this cornucopia of negative publicity about paper bags is being funded by the makers of plastic shopping bags, who are desperate to aim the cannon of public attention away from themselves.
The truth is, both kinds of bags are astonishingly wasteful. The average amount of time that a paper or plastic shipping bag spends in use is less than an hour. And before that, long manufacturing lead times and post-use life-times add up to many years of effort and problems revolving around this one trivial product.
Here are a few facts for you to share:
- Every year, an estimated 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags re used and thrown away worldwide. That comes out to over 1 million per minute.
- Tied end to end, the plastic bags that become litter each year could circle the Earth 63 times.
- Tens of thousands of sea turtles, whales and other marine creature die every year from eating discarded plastic bags which they mistake for food.
- Composted paper bags generate 14,558 tons of CO2 equivalents per 100 million bags produced
- In 1999 alone, 14 million trees were cut down to produce the 10 billion paper grocery bags used by Americans.
- It takes 100,400 gallons of water to produce 100,000 paper bags
There is a trend to eliminate plastic bags on a local level in cities across America. Let’s not get distracted by plastic bag makers pointing a shaking finger at paper bag manufacturers. Eliminating plastic bags is good. Eliminating paper bags will also be good. One by one, let’s take them all out.
Yes, the right-wing hysteria machine is already cranking up, “Obama’s gonna take yer bags!” but doing something useful while whacking the trogs on the snout is half the fun.
Let Your Bags Fo The Talking For Ya
Some of our readers recently asked us to do some fun designs for the canvas tote bags on our merch page at CafePress. These heavyweight canvas totes make great shopping bags. So we put together a set of fun bag designs that are all about showing your colors while you’re shopping. You can see them here.