Thursday, July 8, 2010

Effects on the Environment #3- Plastic Bags

Following is #3 in the series by World Bird Sanctuary volunteer Jennifer Jones

Plastic Bags
The Environmental Stewardship has, in the past, offered a couple of plastic bag recycling opportunities and here are some of the reasons why.

Plastic bags are mistaken for food by marine animals (particularly sea turtles). So why is it harmful to sea turtles?  Plastic bags clog their digestive systems, and the turtles die because their digestive systems cannot function correctly.  Plastic bags look like one of their favorite foods--Jellyfish.  A study showed that out of 400 necropsy reports of sea turtles, one-third of them had plastic in their digestive system.

Plastic bags are made of petroleum, a nonrenewable resource.  They are a serious litter problem due to their light weight, and are difficult to contain.  They are also a major part of the waste in our landfills. Plastic bags are one of the most numerous items of litter along with cigarette butts and Styrofoam.  How often have you seen plastic bags caught in trees and bushes along the roadside as you travel our highways?

Even though plastic bag recycling is on the rise, the EPA has estimated that 90 billion plastic bags used in the U.S. each year are not recycled and find their way into landfills.

The simple solution is clear on this.  Reusable shopping bags!  Keep them in your car and have them at the ready.  If you must accept your merchandise in plastic bags, be sure to take them to a recycling center.  Most supermarkets these days have a plastic bag recycling bin.  What could be easier than dropping off your old plastic bags on your way into the supermarket?

Submitted by Jennifer Jones, World Bird Sanctuary volunteer

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