An individual consumes about 350 plastic bags a year according to some survey reports. A single plastic bag takes about 450 years to biodegrade. If this is the rate of waste disposal and people do not take steps to reduce the disposal of plastic, the whole world would become a huge waste dump.
The pollution caused by plastic bags is 70% more than paper bags. These non-biodegradable plastics are dumped in water bodies and ends up polluting them to irreparable levels. Thousands of sea animals die every year as they end up eating these toxic bags mistaking them for sea food. These plastic bags also photo-degrade and contaminate soil and water. In addition, they enter the food chain when animals ingest the food mistakenly. Finally, they end up on your table when you consume their meat. In many of such water bodies, measures are taken for purification and it adds to the additional cost which is not beneficial at all.
Recycling of plastic bags reduces the disposed waste by the process of recycling causes a lot of air pollution. Hence instead of cooperating for recycling, it is even more beneficial if it could be avoided. Manufacturing of these bags do not cause much pollution and hence do not cause damage to the environment.
Reusing of bags for regular purposes like groceries or shifting to cloth bags reduces a lot of waste and also saves a lot of maintenance cost and cutting down of trees. Reusable bags help in reducing the use of oil based products and saves using up our precious natural resources which are important even for the future generations. We would be saving gallons of water and fuel and acres of forest every year by this measure. It also helps in preserving the flora and fauna of your region.
Reusable bags can also affect the economy in a big way by reducing the prices of products over a long period of time. This is because the efficiency in the market improves by consuming fewer natural resources. The cost of the bags that you pick up in the counter is paid by YOU and nobody else. This expense cuts down thereby reducing the cost of the products.
There are various innovative measures taken to promote the usage of reusable bags. Some of the municipalities have started taxing store given bags. In order to save the additional cost, you can start using reusable bags. Another futuristic step taken by some supermarkets is to load your basket during shopping, unloading during check out and again reloading it once again. By using reusable bags, you can sidestep this whole process. A few websites offer free reusable bags in order to attract the customers to start using the same. By filling in basic details on your website, you would get a couple of reusable bags delivered at your doorstep. Japan has passed a law recently that empowers the government to issue warning to businessmen who overuse a lot of plastic bags. Some companies are promoting eco-friendly initiatives are exploring alternative ethical way of using plastic bags. For example, biodegradable plastic bags which are cornstarch-based cost higher but can breakdown in just 12 weeks into compost.