My Personal War against Plastic Bags

I absolutely hate plastic bags. I abhor them. I loathe them.

I didn’t use to have such strong feelings against them until I realized how wasteful and harmful the practice of using them is. And it’s a habit we all take for granted. Four plastic bags for your groceries, a small one for your new pen from the store, an even tinier one for the allergy medicine you bought at the pharmacy. We rarely give it a second thought, and this attitude has made for some appalling statistics:

 

Every minute, the world consumes one MILLION plastic bags.

 

And, as if that wasn’t mind-blowing enough, try wrapping your head around this:

 

It takes 400 to a THOUSAND years for a plastic bag to fully break down.

 

Personally, these first two factoids were enough to provoke my personal war against plastic bags. However, if you need more convincing, here are some other bag facts:

  • Plastic bags are made from polyethylene, a petroleum product. It only takes roughly NINE plastic bags to drive a car ONE kilometer.
  • Taking into account how long it takes for a plastic bag to break down, then the fact is, every single plastic bag ever created still exists.
  • If you think it takes FOREVER for the plastic bags to photodegrade (and not biodegrade), the chemical residues stick around even longer, leaching into the soil and ending up in the food we eat and the water we drink.

And if you need more convincing, more astounding plastic bag facts are available here, here and here. But if, hopefully, you’ve been enlightened then here are some ways to reduce your plastic bag consumption:

  • Just say no: Because, do you really need the bag? Chances are, if you’re buying small items (a DVD, a tube of lip balm, a pair of socks, a roll of scotch tape, etc.), they will most likely fit in your handbag. As long as there is little risk of spillage/stains/damage to your handbag, then say no to that tiny (and practically unreusable) plastic bag from Mercury Drug.
  • Get yourself a reusable bag: The anti-plastic bag movement has grown strong enough that you no longer have to shell out upwards of 400 PHP for an eco bag. My personal collection includes some bought for 50 PHP in Hong Kong, one from Beansprout and one from Bench, my favorite because it’s made from recycled PET bottles, (although I don’t like how the straps are set).

My collection of used and abused eco bags

 

And I know these tips seem like “duh”, no-brainer types of suggestions but I think they’re worth repeating. There are still way too many people taking the bags for their tiny purchases and too little carrying their shopping in reusable bags. I think most people either can’t be bothered to find eco bags and/or spend on them or people just aren’t thinking about it at the checkout. I suppose it’s a habit that’s hard to break. But here’s a trick that I hope will work. If you can’t remember all the little facts above, then the next time the cashier is putting that nail polish/chocolate bar/greeting card in a plastic bag, remember this picture. Hopefully, it’ll remind you of the damage that one tiny bag can do.

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7 thoughts on “My Personal War against Plastic Bags

  1. muntinlupa has been a no plastic zone since january 18 this year. we are surviving, lot of adjustment but i think it’s all for the best. if it’s for the future of my children and grandchildren & everyone else’s why shouldn’t we do it? i also tote around my own water now since those bottled water plastics are a menace too. i just buy a nice water jug, planning to buy that KOR ONE bottle that jenny epperson wrote about in her blog.

    • Wow! That’s great to hear! I might do some research about that and write about it. If you guys can do it, why can’t everyone else? I think it’s just a matter of changing people’s habits. And yes, I carry around my a water bottle, too. That’s one more thing I need to write about, the plastic water bottles.

      • of course, not all plastic can be erradicated, for the wet stuff in the supermarkets & for the garbage we still are allowed to use plastic. garbage in the village follows a strict segregation rule too, no mixing of paper & plastic. i now tote a shopping bag, in my ginormous bag when i go around the malls here, in my favorite leopard print para nice naman, which always gets the approval of most! it’s a start to a better, greener tomorrow..thanks for posting my comments kat 🙂

        • Yes, for sure, we can’t do away with the plastic completely, I agree. But we don’t really need as much as we use… Cool! My mom has a leopard print one, too, which I got for her in Hong Kong. Sometimes I think that I should’ve kept that one for myself and gave her one in another print. Haha… Of course I posted your comment! I should thank YOU, Cheryl, for taking the time to visit my blog and commenting. I hope you come back! 🙂

  2. Pingback: My ONE Christmas gift suggestion « Don't ask me to smile…

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