Most of us use them every day, the thin plastic bags used by almost every retailer we visit. Whether we’re shopping for groceries or the newest Prada, you can almost guarantee that you’ll be leaving the store with a plastic bag stuffed full of your new goodies. Then, when you arrive home, you’ll quickly remove them like a kid opening Christmas presents, tossing aside the wrapping with thoughtless abandon.
Have you ever stopped to consider what happens to those plastic bags? Has it ever occurred to you just how many of them we go through, individually, in a year? International Plastic Bag Free Day is dedicated to heightening awareness about these and very real and pressing issues brought about by this most popular of disposable carrying devices. We are reminded that those bags we pick up from the retailers are used for an incredibly short time, usually under 25 minutes, and are then disposed of. They may pass out of our thinking then, but they do not pass out of our world. Plastic bags remain in the world for anywhere from 100-500 years before finally decaying completely, and have a profound impact upon our environment as a result. Out in the great reaches of the ocean are massive reefs made up of all sorts of plastic waste, and plastic bags play heavily among them. Such is the magnitude of the problem that these great floating islands reach hundreds of miles, like great monuments to mankind’s wastefulness, and disregard for the world upon which we live.
International Plastic Bag Free Day gives us an opportunity to remind ourselves, and others, that every action we take, and every bag we dispose of, effects the lives of everyone in the world for generations to come. How to Observe International Plastic Bag Free Day There are a lot of good ways to celebrate, and the easiest requires a simple resolution on your part. Even if just for one day, choose paper over plastic, or even better bring your own bags to the retailers to pick up your goods. Some stores even offer discounts or other perks for the customers that bring their own! If you own a store yourself, start a program to encourage your customers to bring in their own reusable containers and stop offering plastic bags as an option.If you want to become even more proactive, then you can head to http://www.plasticbagfreeday.org/ to help organize events, network with other people in your area and around the world who are striving to make a difference, or find an event to volunteer and help with yourself!
There’s also an option to tell a story about a bag free day to your fellow plastic bag free folks! Among the most popular activities for International Plastic Bag Free Day are simple gatherings of people walking roadways, beaches, and rivers and picking up all the garbage they find there. Everyday millions of plastic bags get disposed of, and without active people like yourself getting involved, the future is going to be dealing with hundreds of millions of pounds of plastic bags clogging oceans, rivers, and the world at large. The problem has reached such proportions that what was once clean sand on the beaches of the world are now being found to be made of composites of natural substances and garbage plastic.