Many states are now enacting laws that limit the use of plastic bags. So far California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, New York, Oregon and Vermont—have banned single-use plastic bags along with 400 cities across the country.
Here are 10 facts about single-use plastic bags and why we should switch to reusable bags:
1. Americans use 100 billion plastic bags a year, which require 12 million barrels of oil to manufacture.
2. It only takes about 14 plastic bags for the equivalent of the gas required to drive one mile.
3. The average American family takes home almost 1,500 plastic shopping bags a year.
4. According to Waste Management, only 1 percent of plastic bags are returned for recycling. That means that the average family only recycles 15 bags a year; the rest end up in landfills or as litter.
5. Up to 80 percent of ocean plastic pollution enters the ocean from land.
6. At least 267 different species have been affected by plastic pollution in the ocean.
7. 100,000 marine animals are killed by plastic bags annually.
8. One in three leatherback sea turtles have been found with plastic in their stomachs.
9. Plastic bags are used for an average of 12 minutes.
10. It takes 500 (or more) years for a plastic bag to degrade in a landfill. Unfortunately, the bags don't break down completely but instead photo-degrade, becoming microplastics that absorb toxins and continue to pollute the environment.
You can feel good about not using plastic and making this a greener world one reusable bag at a time!
Information used in this article is from The Center for Biological Diversity