Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Independence (From Plastic Bags)

We all know what tomorrow is, what it stands for, and how important it is.

But how about today?

Hold on to your fireworks, my friend, because I'm here to tell you …

It's International Plastic Bag-Free Day.

I'm guessing you didn't know that. I didn't until I saw a post on Facebook this afternoon. Don't worry if you just became enlightened--there's still time to celebrate, and there is always time to act. 

Photo of bagged coral courtesy of NOAA.

First, a few plastic facts from ReUseIt.com:

  • Plastic bags are among the top two items of debris found most often in coastal cleanups (Ocean Conservancy)
  • Plastic bags wrap around living corals, quickly "suffocating" and killing them (U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)
  • Approximately 500 nautical miles off the California coast sits a growing "plastic island," a gargantuan patch of floating plastic trash held together by currents stretching across the northern Pacific almost as far as Japan. This "plastic island" is made up of about 7 billion pounds of plastic garbage, and measures about twice the size of Texas.
  • Of 500,000 albatross chicks born each year on Midway Atoll, about 200,000 die of starvation (including the endangered Laysan variety). Adult albatrosses mistake plastic trash for food and end up feeding it to their chicks (L.A. Times)
  • Since water keeps the plastic cool and algae blocks ultraviolet rays, "every little piece of plastic manufactured in the past 50 years that made it into the ocean is still out there somewhere" (Research Triangle Institute)

How Are Other Countries Celebrating Plastic Bag-Free Day?



Citizens of Quezon City joined members of EcoWaste Coalition, GAIA, Mother Earth Foundation, Greenpeace, and Miss Earth to encircle the entire perimeter of Quezon City Memorial Circle with a plastic-bag chain, demonstrating the magnitude of our planet's plastic problems. 

·    1. You've heard it before, but this time, really, forego the plastic and bring your own bags. If I forget mine this week, I think I'll pile all my groceries in the cart unbagged. Bet I won't forget again! 

·    2. Buying fireworks for the big celebration tomorrow? Skip the plastic bag there, too. You can carry all plenty of Roman candles and sparkly-boom-bangers under your arm (if not, bring your own bag). 

·    3. Find (and use) a plastic recycling center near you.

·    4. Lend your support to the cause by signing this pledge. The Foundation for Waste Reduction and Responsible Consumption is gathering global support in favor of phasing out plastic bags.

Want More?

Find out about plastic bag bans in states across the U.S.

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