Plastic Bag Free Day – Why You Should Participate Everyday
July 3rd is International Plastic Bag Free Day. It’s one of the most important international holidays, as it brings attention to a huge issue in today’s society: single use plastic.
Plastic bags take 20 years or more to break down. We use about 500 billion plastic bags each year worldwide, which works out to about one million each minute.
Plastic Bag Free Day serves as a reminder of the damage we’re doing – and the simple solution to correct the issue.
Why avoiding plastic bags matters
On average, plastic bags are used for just 15 minutes before being discarded. When you consider how that bag will sit for 20 years before breaking down, it’s almost unbelievable that plastic bags are still the norm.
Plastic Bag Free Day brings the world’s attention to this issue, which on its own is a very worthy cause. However, it also sparks a larger conversation about the state of single use plastics today.
Consider the lifecycle of common plastic items:
- Plastic bags – 20 years
- Coffee cups – 30 years
- Plastic straws – 200 years
- 6-pack plastic rings – 400 years
- Plastic water bottles and cups – 450 years
- Coffee pods – 500 years
- Disposable diapers – 500 years
- Plastic toothbrushes – 500 years
For centuries and generations to come, people will be dealing with the single use plastic we used today. The bag you use for groceries at age 20 will still be around when you’re turning 40. The plastic iced coffee cup you drank out of for 1 hour today will still be around in the year 2471.
Apart from the environmental impacts, plastic bags also hurt animals. Tens of thousands of birds, turtles, seals, and whales are killed each year from plastic bag litter.
Plastic bags often end up in marine environments, easily mistaken for jellyfish. When animals eat the bag, thinking it’s food, they cannot digest or pass the bag, meaning it stays in the gut. The bag may block the animal from digesting food, leading to a painful, slow death.
Plastic Bag Free Day reminds us of these statistics. It’s a push to bring our own reusable bags. It’s a reminder to make your coffee at home or bring a reusable cup to your local cafe. It’s a push to make better decisions now, so people and animals can live better lives for centuries to come.
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How to celebrate Plastic Bag Free Day every day
Ready to skip plastic bags for good? Keep reusable bags in your purse, backpack, or car so you’re never without. For singular or small items, you can always just decline the plastic bag and carry the item in your hands. Here are a few bags I recommend:
- Foldable shopping bag to carry in your purse or backpack
- Canvas bag for general shopping
- Large canvas bags for grocery shopping
- Mesh bags for larger produce items
- Thin mesh bags for smaller items like herbs
I hope you’ve found this blog helpful! As always, you can support me and the site by commenting below or buying me a cup of tea or sharing the site with a friend. Your support means the world to me!
Do you have a favourite reusable bag? Leave a comment below and let me know which you recommend. If you haven’t already, join my plastic free challenge for daily tips and community support!