Friday, 25 January 2008

Its in the bag!


Each year, an estimated 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags are consumed worldwide. That comes out to over one million per minute. Billions end up as litter each year.

Hundreds of thousands of sea turtles, whales and other marine mammals die every year from eating discarded plastic bags mistaken for food.

Plastic bags don’t biodegrade, they photodegrade—breaking down into smaller and smaller toxic bits contaminating soil and waterways and entering the food web when animals accidentally ingest.

Good news, China has ruled that on June 1 shops will be banned from handing out free bags, citing the environmental damage that they cause. It said: “Plastic shopping bags, due to reasons such as excessive use and inefficient recycling,have caused serious waste of energy and resources and environmental pollution.”
China, which produces many of the world’s plastic bags, already has to refine five million tonnes of crude oil a year just to keep pace with the demand for plastics used in packaging at home.
In 2001, Ireland consumed 1.2 billion plastic bags, or 316 per person. An extremely successful plastic bag consumption tax, or PlasTax, introduced in 2002 reduced consumption by 90%. Approximately 18,000,000 liters of oil have been saved due to this reduced production. Governments around the world are considering implementing similar measures.

Recycled bags ideas;
Juice cartons bags.
Hemp bags/ sari
Recycled laptop bags - made from bits of old boat
Recycled fire hoses and recycled truck tarps, inner tubes, seat belts.
You can always make a bra...!
And hereare 2 lovely British craft web sites Devon Crafts and Pipany
Hope you are doing your bit?
Mother of Shrek is green!!

43 comments:

Chris H said...

I'm GREEN! I don't use plastic bags, I made my own out of material for the groceries etc! I get 10 points!

Jen said...

We're lucky to live in a fairly green community (at least in some ways). It's getting to the point where if you're not carrying your own fabric bag for groceries the cashiers look at you oddly.

It is funny though- one of my daughters can tell me with a straight face that she's an environmental hippie, right before she unwraps her tube of lip gloss that comes in 18 layers of plastic and cardboard packaging :-) It's a slow process!

Kelley said...

I am almost there. I still get some plastic bags (mainly for meat or oozy things) and recycle them as garbage bags.

But. I mainly use them for nappies/diapers. Boo is still in them for night and when he is sick. Not green, I know, but there is no way I am gunna get a cloth nappy on a 9 year old.

So would that be a 5 out of 10?

BenefitScroungingScum said...

I always feel acutely conscious of having to put things in extra plastic bags to spread the weight out so I stand a chance of lifting them at the checkout, all the re-useable shopping bags look lovely but are of no use to me, they're just impossible to lift. I do reuse them all as bin bags though, and love the Tesco facility to have your online groceries delivered without bags. BG

Stinking Billy said...

You ain't so green. A 'woman of the world' comes to mind. ;-)

Mrs. C said...

They PUSH the plastic at our local shop. If you ask for paper, they'll fill it so full I can't lift it w/o the bag tearing. Or I can't lift it at all, being 9 months pregnant.

I've tried to bring my own bags, but with 5 1/2 kids to shop for, we buy wayyy too much to load in the bags I have.

I do kinda recycle, though, and use the plastic bags to tie up poopy diapers so they don't smell as much.

Crystal Jigsaw said...

Perhaps China should also think about the packaging on children's toys.

Crystal xx

Zoƫ said...

I was born Green - think laterally!

Vi said...

Beauty about onlin tesco shopping, is they deliver without bags. But I'm running out of them to put in my rubbish bin!

toady said...

Thanks for the plug Cas. I'm using my own bags and bags for life from the supermarket and trying to phase out the plastic ones. I always recycle packaging as well when posting out parcels. Leaves the room feeling very smug!!

A Stone Gatherer said...

Casdok, thank you for visiting my blog! I'm so amazed that I am able to talk with someone from England! I just want to say how much I respect you and to encourage you in your being your sons champion! My oldest does not have Autism, but there was a time when I thought he had aspergers. What an awesome advocate you are! God Bless!

Beau McClelland said...

I try to be environmentally-friendly, but it's not exactly easy here. Plastic bags are just so much easier to carry...

buffalodickdy said...

Make a bra? Just don't wear one- I'm OK with that...:)

Cait O'Connor said...

That was a great blog. Good news about China. Ireland did it ages ago, why can't this country pull its finger out?

Doc said...

I agree that we need to sacrifice some convenience to help the environment. It's just hard to convince others to join in.

laughingwolf said...

for at least 20 years i have been using cloth shopping bags for my groceries... if they get dirty, i just toss them in the washing machine

but yeah, i've seen the results of plastic bags on animal life and the wilderness :(

good post, cas!

Phil Plasma said...

There are a few small towns here that have outlawed plastic bags, the societal movement is towards their complete elimination and I figure within a few years they will be outlawed provincially.

J said...

Unfortunately canvas bags are rarely seen in grocery stores in my city of about 26,000. However, there is a push to recycle plastic bags. That's a start anyway. Someone could get rich inventing a practical system using canvas bags...

nitebyrd said...

Our markets have just started a huge push to use bags that can be re-used. It's about time!

motherx said...

We do our bit but obviously not enough after reading this! Im still quite wasteful of plastic bags but do recycle all my glass plastic and tins.

Lane said...

Bras from bags! There's sweaty:-)

Hate, hate, hate plastic bags. You put one under the sink and they breed anyway:-)

Marla said...

Those pictures are so sad. I am going to make a point to get some alternative bags very soon. Thanks for sharing this.

Jodi said...

I'm finally taking my own bags to the grocery store. I hate the plastic bags. hate them, hate them, hate them.

Cooper said...

I know that the state I live in (New Jersey - although my friends keep telling me it's 'denial') has legislation pending to ban plastic bag usage. I confess a lack of compliance in this area - primarily because they are so handy for cleaning up dog poop, which is required around here. I'll have to come up with a better solution, I guess.

lady macleod said...

Plastic bags are the migrating crop of the Middle East and Africa. When I go to Fez or on the train to Casablanca I am shocked at the fields (truly!) of bags (where they have blown from the roads and houses).
I have not noticed it as badly in India, at least in the north. I'm a canvas bag-lady myself.

katy said...

we need to work harder at this as a Country, if we were charged for the plastic bags we would soon start using our own bags.

abstractjenn said...

Excllent post Casdok. It's something we should all be paying attention to.

Little Wing said...

Casdok, I recycle ALL of my plastic bags as liners for my waste baskets.
I also recycle ALL plastic bottles and cans.
I am trying to get greener!!

Within Without said...

First, thanks for visiting my place, Cas. I've had a quick look at your blog and will be back.

I confess to not being green when it comes to plastic bags. But posts like this and a growing awareness of how to be green overall is changing me and the world in general.

I don't think there's any disputing that Europe and most other places are far ahead of North America in environmental advancements and awareness.

Most other advanced nations signed the Kyoto Accord but the U.S. refused and Canada has only paid lip service to it.

We (North Americans) are by far the most abusive towards the environment of all.

I'll evolve -- as will we all, eventually -- but we need more urging. This helps. Thanks. :-)

leslie said...

We recycle everything here in Vancouver, Canada. And I've started using canvas bags for my groceries. But I must admit to using plastic bags for the sloppy garbage...I don't have a garburator in my kitchen sink, so what else can I do? Suggestions, anyone?

Oh! I totally agree with land re the plastic bra - no way!!!

Ian Lidster said...

I'm fully on your side on this one, my dear friend,and I blogged on the same thing a while ago. Eventually attitudes will change. Though, I must confess that I agree with Leslie about garbage. Dunno how to get around that one.

Special Needs Mama said...

You GO Mother of Shrek. Off to buy my groceries w/my existing bags.

Annieye said...

I'm pretty good with recycling but terrible at remembering to take my bags. I've got a plastic storage basket in the boot of my car and if I forget my bags I just chuck the shopping back in my trolley and then load it straight out of the trolley into the basket.

I nearly always get stopped by the security man though - because it looks as if I haven't paid for my shopping.

MY OWN WOMAN... said...

I saw a documentary on this very subject. The study showed the animals and fish that have died from consuming plastic that they thought was food....in addition to all the garbage you could actually identify in these victims of pollution.

I have to hang my head in shame; I use plastic grocery bags for various reasons, none of which are probably good. I do, however, bring the same bags back again and again to use.

Elissa - Managing Autism said...

We're pretty green at our place, we recycle and reuse as much as we can - there is always room for improvement though...

Flea said...

We're not very green. I do much of the grocery shopping at stores which don't bag. The kids just LOVE unloading the car on grocery days. And we recycle. So it makes me FEEL green. One point?

Marlee said...

I reuse my plastic bags as poop baggies for dog-walking! ;)

dykewife said...

we use shopping bags that the store made available for sale. they're made entirely of recycled materials and wear like iron. they should last long enough to be able to leave them to our grandchildren when we die. :) we recycle and come spring (when i clean out the composter because it's filled with stuff that isn't breaking down) we'll be composting as well. with a little work we should be able to reduce our garbage to less than 1 small bag a week.

Nicki Mann said...

We always re-use our bags as dog-poop picker-uppers!

aspiemom said...

Our local Jewel (Albertson's at some parts of the US) has bags you can purchase for $1. I bought probably 10 now and have used 2 for other things. They are a million times better than those plastic ones and they hold so much more. They are awesome--if I can just remember to get them out of the back of my car!

Great post!

Attila The Mom said...

I know this is somewhat awful, but we use about 50/50 plastic/paper bags.

About twice a year we haul down all the usable plastic bags and donate them to the Community Cupboard (local food bank). The paper ones we end up burning in our woodstove.

Moonshadow said...

Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a comment. I just bought the reusable bags the last time we bought groceries, they're back in the car waiting for the next round. Here's a friend's link for recycling the plastic bags...
http://www.myrecycledbags.com/
I've been recycling for years, first newspaper, then plastic, and I have a compost bin so my garbage never goes out with the trash.

DJ Kirkby said...

This post breaks my heart, humans can be thoughtless and evil. We are very green in our house but could do better.