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Everyone has seen the damage plastic is doing to our world. It is choking the oceans and polluting the land. Yet the fact is that plastic is a very useful material that is ingrained in our day to day lives.
So just how can we use plastic responsibly? One way is to utilize plastic bag recycling so that bags are not needlessly created then wasted. Below, we give 7 reasons why you should recycle your plastic bags.
1. They Pollute Land as Well as Water
While many people are aware of the devastating impact plastic bags have on the ocean, many people neglect to think about the impact they also have on land. As they are lightweight, they can travel long distances with just a little wind. These bags can get caught in fences, trees, and hedgerows, impacting the environments of birds and mammals on land.
As plastic does not degrade, when it gets covered by soil and earth it forms layers of plastic that lay upon each other. The carcinogens in the plastic can impact on the growth of flora and fauna. This can leave large spaces of land barren and desolate. In large amounts, it can also mean the land becomes unsafe, so it is no longer suitable for building or housing projects.
2. Plastic Bag Production Contributes to Climate Change
Most plastic bags are constructed from polyethylene. This is derived from the process of gas and crude oil refining. Both of these methods contribute to greenhouse gas emissions in a large way.
It is estimated that around 9% of global oil manufacturing is down to plastic bag production. Driving a car 1 kilometer also uses up the same amount of energy as the creation of 9 plastics bags. With oil reserves a finite supply, it also makes more sense to use them on products that will benefit the globe, as opposed to creating disposable convenience items.
Help combat this by not accepting plastic bags every time you visit the store. Take a stash of naturally made, renewable tote type bags to carry your shopping.
3. They Are Harmful to Wildlife
Plastic bags do not degrade in the way natural substances do. Many of them break down into smaller microplastics which can be even more deadly than the whole, complete plastic bag. These microplastics can then be consumed by animals who mistake them for food.
This plastic is not only toxic but extremely hard to digest. This leads to congestion in the digestive tract. This in turn can lead to infection and death.
Species such as the Sea Turtle have been devasted by plastic. Not only do they consume plastic and get tangled, but it also litters the habitats it uses for laying eggs. When babies hatch, plastic prevents them from reaching the ocean as they scramble to navigate across beaches littered with plastic.
4. They Are Harmful to Humans
Microplastics are now deeply ingrained in our food chain. As marine and animal life consume microplastics, it eventually makes its way from them into our own bodies and food supply. You can find plastic in everything from seafood to tap water.
The truth is that we do not know the long term impact of plastic consumption on the human body. Many plastics are toxic and studies have shown that they can even mimic hormones, such as estrogen, in the human body. This means they can interfere with the natural processes of our bodies.
Many people believe that introducing plastics into the human body may increase stress on the liver. The liver is responsible for cleaning out harmful pathogens and substances in the body. This could result in an increased risk of liver failure.
5. Plastic Bag Recycling Needs Support
Recycling plastic bags can be done, but it is far from easy and needs the help of the consumer. Convenient trash disposal services can provide recycling and sorting, but it often costs energy and emissions to complete this. It requires lots of specialist equipment to break down plastics that are expensive to install and use.
This whole process can be made easier if people send plastic bags to proper recycling plants. Most consumers toss out plastic bags in the regular trash meaning it is very unlikely they go to a recycling plant in the first place. Having designated recycling bins and collections prevents this.
6. They Are Hard to Clean Up
Around 17 cents to clean up one plastic bag. If you compare this to the amount of plastic bags that are disposed of and created daily, this soon becomes a huge figure. Money spent by states on maintaining landfill sites each year is essentially money spent guarding plastic bags and keeping them in check.
Add to that the cost of removing plastic bags from the general environment, away from the landfill sites. This includes clean up in streets and cities, rivers and streams, and the wider ocean.
7. They Never Break Down
Plastic bags never break down. They may break into smaller pieces of plastic, but these are just as damaging to the environment. Plastic does not degrade and the proof of this is floating in our oceans.
Plastic bags will stay under our soil, destroying plant life, or will float in our oceans forever. Unless someone cleans it or recycles it into another product it will never go away.
Start Recycling Today
Plastic bag recycling can be done in two ways. The first is to check local rules and laws, to see if you have a designated collection. If not, take them to a recycling point for proper disposal.
If you are looking for more ways to help the environment, visit our handy articles and blog section. We have regular updates on environmental issues and how to help. Bookmark us today and let us reduce your carbon footprint starting today!