Did you know that plastic bags are used on average for 12 minutes? Yet, they can last over 1000 years in a landfill. According to the GCA’s position paper on Waste Management, America alone uses over 380 billion plastic bags yearly! So, after 12 minutes of usefulness, what happens to all those bags? Most end up in the landfill, a small minority are recycled and some are even burned, contributing to increased pollution. You are hopefully already taking re-usable bags to the grocery store. Have you seen them at Heinen’s? They are super cute and seasonal and I have several in my car all the time. Don’t forget to take them to CVS, or Target or wherever you shop! Think also about the one-time use plastics at the salad bar or in the stores in general. Whole Foods now uses recycled, reinforced paper products in those locations and they break down in a fraction of the time compared to plastic. Perhaps think about asking your Heinen’s manager why they haven’t switched to more environmentally friendly packaging options like Whole Foods.
When you really think about how plastic has become so ubiquitous in our lives, you hopefully begin to realize, too, how much we discard on a daily basis. I recall overhearing a conversation recently between two people regarding the futility of banning plastic straws. I don’t share that attitude. Everything we do to lower our consumption of petroleum-based disposable plastics can and will make a difference, so start now.