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The Real Cost of “Free” plastic bags

Every year, Americans throw away some 100 billion plastic bags after they've been used to transport a prescription home from the drugstore or a quart of milk from the grocery store. It's equivalent to dumping nearly 12 million barrels of oil.

  • Over 100,000 sea turtles and other marine animals are killed every year when animals mistake them for food.
    Bags choke animals or block their intestines
  • Plastic bags take up to 1,000 years to degrade in landfill. As litter, they breakdown into tiny bits, contaminating
    our soil and water.
  • An estimated 8 billion pounds of plastic bags, wraps and sacks enter the waste stream every year in the US alone,
    putting an unnecessary burden on our diminishing landfill space and causing air pollution if incinerated.
  • Only 2 percent of plastic bags are recycled in the U.S. It costs more to recycle a bag than produce a new one.
  • 50 percent of all marine litter is some form of plastic.
  • Biodegradable Bags do nothing to address the consumption part of the problem.


What You Can Do

  1. Break the habit
  2. Invest in high quality reusable bags.
  3. Bring your own reusable bags to the supermarket – every time!
  4. Keep reusable bags in your car, office, home – no excuses
  5. Re-use plastic produce bags
  6. Ask for a box if you forget to bring your reusable bag
  7. Encourage your supermarket to charge for plastic bags or eliminate them. Plenty of supermarkets have done this successfully.
  8. Educate yourself - Ignorance is no excuse!