Every July 3rd, the International Plastic Bag Free Day is celebrated. The aim is to reduce their use and promote a more sustainable consumption.
Although some countries around the world have banned the production of plastic bags and others have implemented taxes or have established agreements to reduce their use, in many parts of the world they continue to be consumed on a daily basis.
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We use this day as a reminder for ourselves, promoting a change of habit on a daily basis to reduce plastic contamination in the nature. Although we are aware that plastic has many valuable uses, many times we only use it once and throw it away, and that has serious environmental consequences.
Why should we reduce plastic bag use?
Plastic bags take more than 500 years to degrade. It’s estimated that the average person uses about 230 plastic bags per year, which represents more than 500 billion plastic bags in the world. Considering the amount per capita and the time each bag takes to degradate, it’s very clear to see that the contamination we provoque is huge and it affects not only flora and fauna but the entire ecosystem. To give us an idea, every year 8 million tons of plastic are dumped in the oceans, threatening marine and human life.
To give some more numbers, according to studies by the UN, the Smithsonian and SeaTurtle Institute:
-China consumes 3.000 million bags a day.
-Every minute 1 million bags are used.
-The United States consumes about 100 billion bags every year.
-America, Japan and the European Union are the largest producers of plastic waste per capita.
-Less than 5% of bags are recycled globally, and only 9% of the overall plastic produced in the world has been recycled.
– The amount of fuel needed to make 1000 bags is equivalent to the same that a car needs to travel 114 kilometers.
What can we do to reduce plastic use?
–Use cloth bags. Although it seems obvious, we recommend carrying one whenever we go out since they are collapsible and do not take up too much space.
–Do not use plastic bags unnecessarily. Another practice that we can acquire, is to really think if we need a bag every time a store offers it to us, don’t say yes automatically!
–Don’t throw away the bags you have already accepted! You can use them for garbage or to go shopping again.