3 Reasons the Fight Over Plastic Bags Should Matter To You

A Crane eating a plastic bag.

Do Bag Bans Matter to You? Think About This…

The ramifications of disposable plastic bag use is so incredibly far reaching and even if you think the problems have no bearing on you, that just isn’t the case. From impacts on the food chain, the hassle and expense of cleaning up and the harm caused to wildlife there are a lot of problems that are all started with single-use plastic bags.

3 Reasons the Fight Over Plastic Bags Should Matter To You

  1. Impact on Food Chain. There’s a lot of plastic in the ocean, and there are a lot of fish in the ocean eating it. Plastic litter may start out as a single-use water bottle or a disposable plastic bag but as it gets tossed around in the currents, exposed to sunlight and caught on rocks it will break apart into smaller and smaller pieces until eventually they are microscopic plastic particles that can easily be consumed by even the tiniest of fish. Researchers have documented numerous cases of fish with plastic in their digestive systems and studies have found persistent organic pollutants in fish that eat contaminated plastic. If you eat these fish, or potentially if you eat another animal that ate contaminated fish, you are being exposed to the same plastic pollutants.
  2. Cleanup Expense. Municipalities spend thousands of dollars picking up litter. It’s nice to eliminate an eyesore, but more importantly litter is a nuisance. If not cleaned up, litter can clog drainage systems and storm drains. When these systems cannot function as designed, excess water has no place to go and flooding will result which can unleash a whole new slew of problems. Picking up litter can get expensive and there are certainly other things municipalities would rather spend their tax dollars on. However, cleanup is cheaper than doing nothing and dealing with the resulting problems.
  3. Care About Wildlife? Bag pollution kills. Animals can easily mistake discarded plastic bags as a food source and once consumed they can be deadly. There are a couple ways plastic trash can kill an animal: the plastic pieces can become lodged in the animals stomach and create a false sense of fullness while the animal starves to death, or the plastic can become entangled in the animal’s digestive system and lead to blockages. Either way, animals will die for no reason. While it’s sad to see these senseless deaths, this problem is so much bigger. These unnatural deaths can wreak havoc with the food chain and throw things out of balance. When one species, or link in the chain, is tampered with it can cause the population levels of their prey to increase, while negatively impacting the population of predators since their food source has been compromised. If a predator eats an animal with plastic in its system it is possible the predator will consume that plastic, too, and the health issues will be passed along.

Time to Make The Switch to Reusable Bags?

These issues may affect you in varying degrees, but the cumulative impact is frightening. Damaging food sources, harming animals and racking up expensive cleanup costs are sufficient reasons to do your part and fight to end the use of disposable plastic bags. While fees and bans are proven to effectively reduce the negative impact of plastic, you don’t need to wait for these measures to be taken. Do your part and switch to reusable grocery bags now.

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