June 19, 2009

Pastic, In The Past

They are an urban tumbleweed, a flag of the consumer era.

In 2007 it was reported that 500,000,000,000 (500 billion) plastic bags were used around the world. In the U.S. alone, we use 380 billion plastic bags every year – more than one billion a day.

WOW, one billion divided be the US population as I write this (306,708,249) equals, a whole lot of trash. OK, so if you figure that out, I think it comes to less than 1/2 a bag a day per person. But the US population includes babies, children, people in nursing homes, etc. that never get to the store.

Oh, did I mention that you could fill the Empire State Building 2 1/2 times with those bags. Like I said before that's a lot of plastic, trash or what ever you choose to call it.

Scattered Plastic Facts;
◦12 million barrels of oil are used to make the plastic bags consumed in the U.S. annually.
◦Less than 1% of all plastic bags are recycled in the U.S.
◦Over 100,000 birds and marine life die each year due to an encounter with plastic debris, much of it plastic bags.
◦Plastic is getting into the food chain.
◦Estimates run as high as one million pieces of plastic per square kilometer (0.6 mile) floating in specific areas of the Pacific Ocean.
◦When one ton of plastic bags are reused or recycled, the energy saved is equal to 11 barrels of oil.
◦Plastic bags, and other plastic refuse that end up in the ocean, kill up to one million sea creatures every year, such as birds, whales, seals, sea turtles, and others. And the number of marine mammals that die each year because of eating or being entanglement in plastic is estimated at 100,000 in the North Pacific Ocean alone.
◦I once heard the saying; Plastic bags are like diamonds, they last forever. Maybe it's only a 1,000 years, but to me that's forever.

So, what is the answer. NO Plastic & NO Paper bags, buy some reusable bags.

I ran out to my car and I counted six. Do I buy that many groceries? No, but they get used at every store and sometimes they get forgotten in the house. I even use them when I'm taking supplies to my in-laws, going to the lake or over to someones house for a BBQ.

I kicked the plastic habit.
A special Thanks for this weeks challenge by;
Reduce Footprints: Change The World Wednesdays


  1. Actually, it's 3.2 bags per person per day. :) Worse than you thought?

    Hell ya, it is. Nice post.

    Of course, before we all go running out to buy our re-usable grocery bags, a few caveats are also in order. Mostly, make sure to keep those new bags clean.

    I wrote about this recently:

  2. Oops, you were right. I had my decimal in the wrong place. Thanks for pointing that out, but really I wish I had been right. Would have been a whole lot less bags. LOL

  3. I love that phrase ... "an urban tumbleweed".

    Plastic is such an insidious substance ... it leaches into our food, destroys our waterways and marine life ... and never (for all practical purposes) goes away. It is particularly scary to think of how, in a relatively short period of time, plastic bags have infiltrated our lives ... creating huge mountains in landfills. What a legacy. It's sad!

    Thank you for posting about this and offering such great information!

    Small Footprints