Shopping? Take Reusable Bags!
Drawing up a gift list for the holiday season? Be sure to take along reusable shopping bags when heading out to the mall or your favorite retailer.
Consider making the switch:
- In the United States, consumers use 100 billion plastic bags annually, but fewer than 5 percent of plastic bags are recycled, which means they eventually end up in landfills, open spaces, or waterways.
- Californians use an estimated 12 billion plastic bags annually. That’s almost 400 bags per second.
- In California, approximately 247 million pounds—that’s 24 billion bags!—end up in landfills every year.
- California spends approximately $25 million annually to landfill discarded plastic bags. Public agencies in California spend more than $300 million annually for litter abatement.
- Studies have found plastic accounts for up to 90 percent of trash in our lakes and waterways, and single-use disposable plastic bags make up a large portion of the litter. Plastic bags, which can resemble jellyfish or sponges, can be mistaken for food or prey by seabirds, marine mammals, fish, and sea turtles. In fact, 86 percent of all known species of sea turtles have had reported problems of entanglement or ingestion of marine debris.
- More than 50 California cities and counties, large and small, have adopted local ordinances prohibiting retailers from using single-use plastic shopping bags. Prohibitions on single-use disposable bags now cover approximately 16 percent of California’s population.
Sources: California Department of Resources Recycling and
California 2008 Statewide Waste Characterization Study;
Californians Against Waste;
Zero Waste San Diego.