Today between 500 billion to 1 trillion Plastic Bags are used annually world wide. It is estimated that over one billion plastic bags are distributed free to consumers each day. According to Clean Up Australia, Australians use in excess of 6 billion plastic bags per year.
Reason why we should ban Plastic bags:
1. Plastic bags and packaging account for a major part of the waste in landfills. They litter our community beaches, roads, sidewalks and vegetation. Because of their light weight, plastic bags fly easily in wind, get tangled up in trees, fences, poles and blocks drainage. They float along in the river currents and inevitably end up in our Oceans.
2. Plastic bags are made from a non-renewable natural resource: petroleum, thous it diminishes our natural resources; and in the same time, the manufacture of plastic bags add tones of carbon emissions into the air annually.
4. They are not biodegradable. The plastics bags in circulation and future production of them will stay with us for a long time: it can take 1,000 years to decompose on land and 450 years in water.
5. Plastic Bags end up in our ocean and cause harm to our marine wildlife. Many marine animals and birds mistakenly ingest plastic or become entangled and choke in plastic bags that are floating around. For instance, environmentalists have pointed out that turtles often mistake plastic bags for jellyfish and invariably swallow them. It is estimated 100,000 marine mammals die each year because of plastic litter in our oceans.
6. There is virtually no market for recycling plastic bags. Very few recycling centers accept plastic bags because they have little recyclable value. Although your local supermarkets collect used plastic bags for recycle, very few are actually recycled. Only 10% of Australian households take their plastic bags to a central collection point for recycling in supermarkets. Contaminants such as LDPE bags, ink and food left in the bags can make them unsuitable for recycling.
Many countries around the world are attempting to eradicate plastic bags. Some are banning them altogether while others are implementing a tax on plastic bags to discourage their use.
In Bangladesh, plastic bags have been banned completely since early 2002. They were found to have been the main reason for the floods in 1988 that submerged two-thirds of the country. The bags were choking the drainage system. In 2001, the Bombay council also eliminated the use of plastic bags. In Ireland, a tax on plastic bags was introduced. Essentially, each plastic bag handed had an extra 15 cents cost. After the tax scheme began in March 2002, it is estimated the plastic bags available at stores have been decreased by 90%.
So what Is Australia doing? The South Australian Government banned the supply of lightweight plastic shopping bags since the 4th of May 2009. In The Northern Territory Legislation was passed by the NT Legislative Assembly in February 2011. The Ban commenced on 1 September 2011. The ACT Government will follow starting the 1st of November 2011. Retailers have the discretion to provide alternative shopping bags to their customers free, or at a fee. The decision on whether to charge or how much to charge is up to the retailer.
What are the rest of the states in Australia waiting for?
The time has come for the state of Victoria to ban light weight plastic bags. How can you be part of this historical event? Take Actions Now ! Download the Petition here and get as many signatures as you possibly can, let your government know that you care, and that you want your state to follow the governments of S.A, N.T, and ACT ! Set yourself goals, how many signatures are you going to get? Take the petition with you everywhere, family and friends reunions, parties, workplace and any gatherings. Then mail it to the P.O. Box.
I was inspired to write a letter after returning from a very engaging and fun night at one of the free events of the wonderful Melbourne Fringe Festival. Five artist/ speakers read their letters dedicated to a photograph that should have never been taken. We were encourage to write our own letters and I decided to write my letter to A Plastic bag.
“Dear Plastic Bag that should have never been Invented.
What?????? Can I Imagine a life without you? How can I say this if you ae the most popular item in the world. 1 trillion plastic bags are used each year worldwide. You are for sure a planetary celebrity! Human all over the planet love you! They use you to transport their goods and even though you have only been around since the early eighties, people can’t imagine how they would manage without you! You have become such an important part of our lives. But I have to warn you, you’re time is soon coming to and end.
I can still remember the times before you were in my life, going shopping with my mother and brother in the early eighties in Berkley CA were we lived, helping to unpack the groceries out of big brown strong paper bags.
Fast forward into the nighties, as a teenager I can recall the rush, the high that I felt, after going shopping and taking you home with me! You held the new symbol of my worth, whether it was a piece clothes, shoes, makeup, etc. It was a feeling of happiness that would not necessarily last too long, but did give me an immediate boost to my self esteem.
A decade later I encountered you on a daily basis, you took over a shelf in my kitchen, in return helping me to carry my produces and making getting rid of my trash a simple and clean affair. You became essential in my life and in the life of many humasns living on this planet. But the World was rapidly changing, with the information we were receiving though the Internet we could now see and hear stories happening in real time all over the Planet. I started to hear and see horrible pictures about the problems that you were causing to wildlife. Turtle eating you thinking it was jelly fish and dying of starvation, the stomach of dead whales with kilos of you inside of it where just a few of the Images that sparked and deeper interest of my part into who you really where.
I didn’t know then how important you would become in my life. This love affair, started out like the very best of them, old friends that one day become Lovers. I slowly started to take you more seriously. I started spending much more time with you, experimenting and always amazed with the softness of you, delighted with the many colors and the many textures you can have. Now I use you to paint, to weave, to make handbags jewelry, sculptures. You are now such an important part of my creative life, my main source of inspiration, you have help me to connect to myself and to other people in ways you don’t even know.
I can truly thank you for giving my life a higher purpose, I wake up everyday feeling I have a very important mission to accomplish, that goes well beyond my own security and is an act of love towards you, me and our planet. This passion mobilizes me, wakes me up, makes me want to learn, to connect with others, to share, and to dream of a sustainable future for my planet”.