Another Reason You Should Use Reusable Shopping Bags

reusable shopping bags

photo credit: bokeh burger

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch

According to researchers, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is the largest garbage dump in the world. It is located in the Pacific Ocean and is almost the size of Texas.  This piece of land is composed of almost four million tons of garbage and without proper disposal or recycling more wastes may accumulate overtime.

Different garbage items can be found in the patch, but a vast majority of them are made of plastic. This is because plastics are non-biodegradable and they slowly disintegrate into smaller fragments overtime.  Studies conducted by Greenpeace, an independent environmental organization, show that year in and year out, almost 10% of plastic products that are manufactured across the globe find their way to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

Danger to the Environment

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a reminder that excessive and irresponsible use of plastic products, especially plastic bags, can be very harmful to wildlife and marine environment.  Fish, birds, mammals, and other creatures think that the plastic products they encounter are edible so they eat them without any hesitation.  Consequently, these plastics kill these animals through deadly blockages or poison.

In fact, plastics have serious effects on the albatross population that inhabit the Midway Island, a 6.2 square-meter island between Asia and North America.  Studies show that yearly, approximately 500,000 albatrosses are born in the island and about 200,000 of them die from consuming plastic products.  Millions of fish, birds, mammals, and other creatures die annually by consuming plastic products.

Reducing the Use of Plastic Products

In an attempt to drastically reduce plastic use, many shopping centers across the United States encourage the use of reusable shopping bags.  The goal is to use new plastic bags sparingly to reduce the amount of plastic products that end up on landfills.

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a reminder that we should all do our role to help the environment. Plastic is a very useful commodity, but it should be used responsibly because it poses dangers to the environment and wildlife.  Even simple tasks like using reusable shopping bags and recycling can go a very long way when it comes to saving the environment.

Kylie Elcano is a writer and an advocate of eco friendly products, waste management, and recycling services.

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