• Over 1 trillion plastic bags are used every year worldwide. Consider China, a country of 1.3 billion, which consumes 3 billion plastic bags daily, according to China Trade News.
• About 1 million plastic bags are used every minute.
• A single plastic bag can take up to 1,000 years to degrade.
• More than 3.5 million tons of plastic bags, sacks and wraps were discarded in 2008.
• Only 1 in 200 plastic bags in the UK are recycled (BBC).
• The U.S. goes through 100 billion single-use plastic bags. This costs retailers about $4 billion a year.
• Plastic bags are the second-most common type of ocean refuse, after cigarette butts (2008)
• Plastic bags remain toxic even after they break down.
• Every square mile of ocean has about 46,000 pieces of plastic floating in it.
The suggested replacement is paper, but can we expect the supply of secondary pulp take up the slack? Even if we pay the proposed 10 cents per paper bag the supply will be limited. One possible thought is to not throw away the next bags that we get at the supermarket. Save them and take them back on your next shopping trip and reuse them! After all, they are indestructible!
I am sad to think that the trend away from plastic bags will take far too long and we are already in trouble. Somehow the question “Would you like plastic or paper” seems foolish…