More and more people around the world are becoming aware of the environmental issues surrounding plastic bags. Considering their somewhat placid appearance, the impact of plastic bags on the environment can be devastating.
Here are some facts about the environmental impact of plastic bags:
- Plastic bags cause over 100,000 sea turtle and other marine animal deaths every year when animals mistaken them for food
- The manufacture of plastic bags add tonnes of carbon emissions into the air annually
- In the UK, banning plastic bags would be the equivalent of taking 18,000 cars off the roads each year
- Between 500 billion and 1 trillion plastic bags are used worldwide each year
- Approximately 60 - 100 million barrels of oil are required to make the world’s plastic bags each year
- Most plastic bags take over 400 years to biodegrade. Some figures indicate that plastic bags could take over 1000 years to break down. (I guess nobody will live long enough to find out!). This means not one plastic bag has ever naturally biodegraded.
- China uses around 3 billion plastic bags each day!
- In the UK, each person uses around 220 plastic bags each year
- Around 500,000 plastic bags are collected during Clean Up Australia Day each year. Clean Up Australia Day is a nationwide initiative to get as many members of the public to get out and pick up litter from their local areas. Unfortunately, each year in Australia approximately 50 million plastic bags end up as litter.
Fortunately, some governments around the world are taking the initiative to deal with the environmental impact of plastic bags by either banning plastic bags or discouraging their usage.