January, 2011


World over 100s of billions of shopping bags are consumed annually. To splash some statistics, worldwide 1 million plastic bags/minute are consumed. And by consumed, I mean tossed without a second thought. But perhaps we should give plastic bags a second thought, because their environmental impact is striking. Plastic bags slowly photodegrade into toxic pieces that leak into soil and waterways. With crude oil topping $126/barrel, how can we afford to use, then toss, plastic bags that amount to dumping millions of barrels of oil annually?! It seems like we have plastic-wrapped our planet. Many animals mistake stray bags for food, and hundreds of thousands (many of them already endangered) are killed yearly.

Shouldn’t we be focusing more on reducing plastic consumption altogether? Many people want an outright ban of plastic bags. Some advocate use of paper bags. However, paper bags cost 4 times more money and energy to produce than the plastic equivalent, amounting to loss of millions of trees every year. Recycling paper bags is more energy-intensive than recycling plastic, and they do not decompose any faster than plastic in landfill conditions. The obvious solution would be to avoid single-use consumption, period, and redefine our notions of convenience.

Make a small investment in reusable shopping bag; stop your shop cashiers before they instinctively reach for the plastic bag. Make your campus plastic free and environment friendly.

For more information visit http://www.reusablebags.com.