Sustainable Community Action
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Disadvantages of plastic shopping bags[]

In 2002, a National Packaging Covenant Council plastic bags working group in Australia identified four main concerns with plastic shopping bags:

  1. Plastic bag littering, and associated indiscriminate waste disposal and consumer behaviour;
  2. Resource consumption issues, including reduction, reuse and recycling;
  3. Plastic degradability issues relating to littering and resource use;
  4. Social issues, community education and awareness, and consumer perceptions.[1]

The following disadvantages have also been identified:

  • Plastic bags are made of petrochemicals which are not a renewable resource.
  • Plastic bags are flimsy and often do not stand up as well as paper or still cloth.
  • When littered or improperly disposed of, they are unsightly and can be a hazard to wildlife.
  • Most plastic bags do not readily decompose when littered nor in a sealed sanitary landfill.
  • Plastic bags can cause unsupervised infants to suffocate.

Action ideas[]

  • Basketmaking, or crafted (non-plastic) shopping bags

Random facts[]

  • On a global scale, some areas of the sea surface are contaminated with more than 960,000 items of plastic per square kilometre. About one million seabirds choke or get tangled in plastic nets and other debris every year. And about 100,000 seals, sea lions, whales, dolphins, other marine mammals and sea turtles suffer the same fate. Source: The Wildlife Trusts, December 12 2007
  • About 13 billion single-use plastic bags are distributed each year in Britain: 10 per household each week. On average, we use each plastic bag for just 12 minutes, yet they take 500 to 1,000 years to break down. Then there is the climate-change aspect to think about: Plastic bags are manufactured using oil. Cutting their useage in Britain by a quarter would reduce CO2 emissions by as much as 63 tons a year – equivalent to taking 18,000 cars off the road. Source: The Wildlife Trusts, December 12 2007
  • Recycling one plastic bag could save 43/10,000 gallons of oil, 591 BTUs of energy, 591/49,000 pounds of plastic, enough oil to run the average car for 129/2,000 miles or circle the globe almost 602/125 times, a 129 cubic meter lake from being polluted, over 21,867/3,400,000,000 tons of CO2 a year, enough energy to power a 591/3,400,000 bedroom house for an entire year, over 371,739/340,000,000,000 cars for a year, 129/40 pounds of green house gases, 43/2,500 acres of soil from being polluted, 11/500 pounds of fossil fuels,

(591/49,000 pounds of plastic could save 1,773/6,125 gallons of H2O, 21,867/490,000,000 cubic yards of landfill space almost 591/49,000 pounds of black gold, 1,706,217/49,000,000 kWh of energy, 80,967/19,600,000 gallons of oil, 591/612,500 gallons of petroleum, enough energy to heat over 12,411/1,960,000,000 homes, (591-1,182)/98,000 gallons of gasoline, enough oil to run the average car for 242,901/3,920,000 miles, or circle the globe almost 80,967/17,500 times)

Campaigns against Plastic bags[]


Village cinema[]


External links

Plastic bag Img13714 Portal - news / UK news

CO2, H2O, AlO2, CH3, O, Cu, Fe, Hg, Pb, Au, S, Pd, W, N, P, CO3,

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