Here are some interesting facts about plastic bags from Earth 911:
- About 380 billion plastic bags, sacks and wraps are used each year.
- Only 5.2 percent of the plastic bags and sacks in the municipal waste stream were recycled in 2005.
- Small plastic bags made up about nine percent of the debris found along various U.S. coasts in a five-year study.
- Plastic bags do not biodegrade, they photodegrade, which means they slowly break down into smaller and smaller bits that can contaminate soil and waterways.
- Plastic litter is estimated to take up to 1,000 years to decompose. This estimate is based on the decomposition rates of plastics buried in landfills for up to 100 years.
If you need a visual reminder of why we should Just Say No to the plastic bag.....
Typically, plastic bags will be made of either #2 plastic or #4 plastic and according to plasticbagrecycling.org, the following types can normally be recycled at appropriate drop-off locations:
- Grocery bags
- Retail bags (hard plastic and string handles removed)
- Paper towel and toilet paper plastic wrap
- Newspaper bags
- Dry-cleaning bags
Plastic bags can be made into dozens of useful new products, such as building and construction products, low-maintenance fencing and decking, and new bags.
As much as we would like to completely rid our home of plastic bags they always seem to creep back in.
I will admit that I reuse them as garbage bags but I am thinking that I need to change that practice, immediately! Instead, I am going to collect them all and put them in the plastic bag drop off bin located at my local grocery store. It makes better sense to recycle them then it does to add them to the landfill.
Besides, the items that we throw away in our non kitchen garbage don't need to be contained in a garbage bag anyway. From now on I am just going to throw our garbage directly into the trash can and rid our house, once and for all, of plastic bags!