In Argentina I find plastic-free shopping to be quite a hussle. It is not like that all over the world though. Let us have a look around: Bangladesh did it in 2000. China has done it too in 2008. And by numbers like 500 billion to 1 trillion a year worldwide, I find that a rather necessary move. Those countries have fought plastic bags. Actually, quite a lot of nations in the world have successfully banned those horrible thin plastic bags which lay around everywhere on this planet. In other places we have seen that putting a levy on the bags already reduces the use to a large extent. Why not follow these examples?
It does not only reduce pollution and litter which what many do not know has tremendous side-effects: in Africa plastic bags have to be found to create little dumps which are perfect breeding place for mosquitos carrying for example Malaria. Plastic bags also lead to floods by blocking drains. This is why Bangladesh has moved forward to ban them. Or remember the gyres in our oceans and the growing number of animals which die because of them.
Here is the life (and love) story of a plastic bag, who’s life-span can be up to 1’000 years until the material degrades, which is a bloody long time.
There are solutions nevertheless. And simply banning plastic bags is really just a first step. It is important not change and simply use other materials instead but reduce the amount of bags used: bring your cloth bags, bring your old plastic bags, recycle them and support package-free shopping.
Photo by Ars Electronica, thank you!