For starters, the Canadian government is banning single-use plastic by 2021.
Maine & Vermont just recently implemented state-wide bans on plastic bags.
And Kenya banned plastic bags nearly 2 years ago. You can receive a $40,000 fine or even go to jail for possessing them.
A shift is happening. It’s a slow process (isn’t everything that the government gets involved with?), but there’s definitely a trend to cut down on plastic bags.
Because they’re terrible for the environment. Not only do they last forever and never break down, but animals ingest them thinking they’re food.
Dead whales have been washing up on shore with stomachs full of plastic bags (such as this one, that died because it had 88 pounds of plastic in it).
Or this one:
Social media is also showcasing the huge areas of plastic garbage in the ocean and on beaches all around the world (such as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch – learn more about it here).
What else is being done in the mean time?
Some places around the world are recycling plastic bags. Unfortunately, the bags can be more difficult to recycle than other products because they get caught in equipment, causing issues within the recycling process by jamming and breaking machines.
More and more stores are charging for plastic bags (which may work as a deterrent for customers). Others are giving you bags that have embarrassing slogans on them like “Into the Weird Adult Video Emporium” and “Wart Ointment Wholesale.”
There are certain bags that you can buy that claim to be compostable, but they need to be in the right environmental settings (heat, light, etc) in order to decompose, so that’s not the best option. It’s better to avoid using them.
How to remember to take reusable bags:
Since we need to get used to life without the ease of so much plastic, we need to start creating good habits that remind us to be more prepared. Here’s what you can do:
- Leave them in your car or on your bicycle handlebars
- Leave them on the door handle for when you going out later
- Put them in the FRONT seat of your car so you notice them before exiting the car
- Leave a sticky note reminding yourself if you have to
- Don’t have one? You can make one out of an old cotton shirt. It’s super easy, no sewing required:
Let’s all do our part! Have other suggestions? I’d love to hear them!