The Time Has Come To Stop Using Plastic Bags

by Katy on June 20, 2008 · 5 comments

Want to save the earth, but don’t know where to start? Here’s a simple suggestion — stop using plastic shopping bags!

It is estimated that 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags are now produced annually for the world market. That comes out to over one million per minute. Billions end up as litter every year. 

They’re poisoning marine life, littering our planet and causing massive environmental damage. 

Many countries now ban the use of plastic bags, period. Yet here in the United States we hold off from taking a stand.

Here are some ways other countries address the issue:

  • Ireland instituted a “Plas Tax”  charging shoppers 33 cents per bag. A huge success, with an almost immediate 94% decrease in plastic bag usage. The money raised then goes to cleanup projects and environmental issues.
  • Bangladesh banned plastic bags after finding that bag-clogged gutters were the primary cause of flooding during the monsoon season.
  • The Northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh has enacted a complete ban. Anyone found even using a plastic bag could face up to seven years behind bars, or a fine of up to 100,000 rupees ($2,000).
  • Even China announced a ban on free plastic bags, given with purchases. 

If all these countries can enact change towards a plastic bag free world, what are we waiting for?

It doesn’t take a huge effort. Many stores sell inexpensive re-usable shopping bags. Or you could simply gather up all those canvas tote bags you already own and start putting them to use.

Join me in my challenge to stop using plastic bags.

C’mon, Non-Consumers, it’ll be fun!

-Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”


{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

twofish4 June 20, 2008 at 12:05 pm

I think I’m going to make homemade shopping bags for gifts.
I have found that people still give you a hard time for bringing your own bags to grocery stores. They take offense to it. It’s disheartening.


kathys June 20, 2008 at 2:40 pm

Hi Katy,

I’ve been taking cloth bags to the grocery store for a while now. They’ve gotten used to me, and more and more people are doing it. The store is also selling cloth bags, so it seems like they would like to encourage more of this. Today, however, I took my cloth bags to Target. The reception was somewhat cooler, but I guess they’ll get used to it eventually as well.

I love your blog.


Kristen@recoveringfoodwaster June 24, 2008 at 5:51 am

I’ve been doing this recently…haven’t tried it at Target or Walmart(ha!), but I do it regularly at my grocery store and at drug stores.


Jolyn June 24, 2008 at 9:43 am

I use my own bags and most people have responded positively, but I feel like I’m the only one in my town that does this. I’ve not once seen any one else using their own bags. Katy – do you know if there is any legislation in the works to ban plastic bags? Why is the U.S. always dragging its feet on environmental issues?


jessica May 1, 2009 at 8:37 pm

Let’s really get a movement going. There is no reason why plastic bags need to be made or used or thrown away!


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