To Bag or Not To Bag?

Plastic bags are everywhere, literally. If you live in the city, they are almost like a new breed of animal that is exclusive to the city. Oh wait, we already have those, pidgeons. But really, plastic bags are at stores, on the street, in the “garbage”, flying around in the air, in your car, at your home, and you’re actually probably holding one right now as you rush around doing chores, in which case, I wonder why you are reading this if you are running around doing chores.

Plastic bags are a crazy invention of the modern age. It is amazing that high density polyethylene, the plastic used to make the common plastic bag, was only first created in 1953. In 1965 the common plastic bag was created, and in 1979 it was first introduced to America. Only 40 years?! It is crazy to think that a good portion of our parents grew up without this toxic death weapon. Say what? Yeah that’s right. Plastic bags are deadly. I mean, aside from being an actual choking hazard, plastic bags are one of the major everyday items that are destroying our planet.

The pollution of plastic in our oceans is having a detrimental effect on the environment. Many animals end up consuming plastic and this can choke them or block pathways in their bodies and eventually kill them. A good prption of these animals live in the ocean, and this is part of the reason why our ocean life is depleting so rapidly. On a mass scale this can destroy vast ecosystems as different species dwindle in number causing a chain reaction in the food chain. Speaking of the food chain, if animals eat other animals that have plastic in them, then they too consume plastic and succumb to the same fate as their food. This kind of makes plastic bags like the plague for wild animals, sea life in particular.

Another problem with plastic is that it doesn’t degarde very well, it can last 500 or more years. It just becomes smaller and smaller. It becomes what is called microplastics. These microplastics create toxic chemicals that can pollute the earth and human food also. So, if you think humans will be just fine, think again. We are all a part of this world and the plastic threat may not be at our door yet but it sure is coming down the block fast.

Climate Change will change our world forever, and it is growing in strength. Some damage is irreversible, but we can stop further harm. The planet is heating up and the past few years have been the hottest on record. There has never been a time on record that the planet had so many consecutive hottest year record years. For this reason some countries have implemented a tax on plastic bags, being that they are a major contributor to the plastic problems. Some have even banned single use plastic bags all together, which is the best solution to this problem.

15 countries in Africa have either banned it or placed a tax on it. China has banned plastic bags, France has and even California has banned single use plastic bags. It is the first state in the United States to do so.

It is encouraging to see the world is beginning to take some measures to fight pollution and climate change, but we cannot depend on every country to make the right decisions. We must be proactive citizens. We have a problem, and we need to help solve it for ourselves, future generations and all life on earth. Abstaining from plastic bags is just one of the very simple changes we can make in our daily lives that, at a large scale, can send a message that citizens no longer want to use products that harm the planet and so many species. This will cause production to halt and the environment will be greatly spared much more harm.

So, next time you go grocery shopping and that angry old lady is ready to send your bottle of pepsi home surrounded by a protection force of ten indestructable plastic bags, because you know they love to bag and bag and bag, tell her save her energy, because you got your own reusable shopping bags that won’t end up killing off whole ecosystems. She’ll look at you like you’re a damn hippy, but her grandkids will thank you.