Back in the 1980’s, we started hearing “paper or plastic?” when it came time to check out, at the supermarket. Bagging our purchases, in some sort of bag, had long before that become standard practice. Nowadays, it’s practically impossible to make even the smallest purchase without having it bagged, whether we want the bag or not.
One of the most disturbing things I’ve read, in recent weeks, has to do with the effect of plastic bags on the environment of the ocean. Living near the sea, as we do, I was particularly dismayed to learn this factoid:
The Algalita Marine Research Foundation learned that “broken, degraded plastic pieces outweigh surface zooplankton in the central North Pacific by a factor of 6-1. That means six pounds of plastic for every single pound of zooplankton.” Which means, when birds and sea animals or looking for food — more often, they are finding plastic.
This has a certain effect of bringing the “paper or plastic” question in to sharp focus. Indeed, it is no longer a question of “paper or plastic.” Instead, we should all be using reusable bags, and carefully securing our plastic bags, so they don’t get out into the environment, until we can responsibly recycle them.
Californians Against Waste estimate that Americans consume 84 billion plastic bags annually. How many of those plastic bags are you responsible for? Even worse, how many of your plastic bags are now to be found floating somewhere in Puget Sound?
To read the entire article, click here.
Imagine if this sort of thing were going on, at the Island Market: