Monday, April 23, 2007

plastic? paper ? NEITHER!

in yesterday's post I mentioned providing reusable bags as a simple thing each of us can do to make every day earth day! this is something I TRY to do, but I confess, I don't always execute (especially when a stop at the store is an impromptu act). as yesterday was earth day, our local paper ran a piece that has strengthened my resolve to always have a reusable bag or two at hand and to put a couple canvas bags into my partner's vehicle for his after work stops at the grocery store.

factoids that I hope will strengthen your resolve too:
100 BILLION number of plastic bags used in the usa every year.
12 MILLION barrels of oil to make those 100 billion plastic bags.
90 percent of grocery bags that are used are plastic.
5.2 percent of plastic bags and sacks recycled in 2005.
21 percent of paper bags and sacks that were recycled in 2005.
1,000 years that it can take for a plastic bag to decompose.
5.5 cents cost of a typical paper grocery bag.
1 cent cost of a typical plastic grocery bag.
1977 year in which plastic bags first arrived at grocery stores.

several european countries are attempting to tackle the mounting problem of plastic bags - in 2002 ireland imposed a 'plastax' of 15 cents a bag. as a result, people are bringing their own bags and the ireland has seen a 90 percent decrease in the use of plastic bags. I can't imagine the anti-tax forces here accepting such a measure, but it is an option....hopefully we can change our bag habits before we're forced to impose such measures!
(plain dealer sources: wall street journal, US EPA, new york times, UPI, reusablebags.com)

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