Why You Can't Count On the Plastic Bag Anymore
Many store chains have taken initiative. In 2007, Ikea introduced its "bag the plastic bag" program to the U.S., charging a nickel for plastic bags and offering an alternative reusable bag for 59 cents. In 2008, after a 92% reduction in use, Ikea stopped offering plastic bags altogether. Likewise, organic food behemoth Whole Foods Market (WFM) banned plastic bags in 2008 and offers only paper bags made from 100% post-consumer content or a reusable bag for 99 cents.
Whatever one's opinion is on formal bans, it cannot be denied that plastic bags cause significant harm to wildlife and the environment.
Each year, between 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags are consumed worldwide, with billions winding up in landfills. We throw away almost 100 billion plastic bags in the U.S. every year.
Plastic bags can take up to 1,000 years to degrade, while plastic waste kills an estimated 100,000 marine creatures (including dolphins, sea turtles, seals and whales) and 1 million sea birds annually. These animals often are strangled or choke on the plastic when they ingest it, mistaking it for jellyfish or other food.
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