Have you stopped using plastic bags? | The Tylt

Have you stopped using plastic bags?

From plastic forks to straws, companies and governments alike are making moves to eliminate single-use plastics whenever possible. But when it comes to plastic bags, habits seem a little bit harder to change. Grocery stores across the country continue to automatically bag food in plastic, and many people have not changed their habits as a result. Others choose canvas tote bags instead and favor reusable options. Have you stopped using plastic bags?

FINAL RESULTS
Culture
Have you stopped using plastic bags?
A festive crown for the winner
#NoMoreSoftPlastic
#StillUsePlasticBags
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Real-time Voting
Have you stopped using plastic bags?
#NoMoreSoftPlastic
#StillUsePlasticBags
#NoMoreSoftPlastic

Plastic bags–the kind you might find at a grocery store or local retailer–are not biodegradable, meaning they cannot be decomposed by living organisms. According to ThoughtCo, plastic bags take 1,000 years to break down into smaller particles and can continue to pollute soil and water for years after that.

Some retailers and governments are making moves to discourage plastic bag use. According to the Independent's Shehab Khan, single-use plastic bag sales have fallen by 86 percent in the U.K. since the country implemented a five-pound charge on each bag.

Rosie Cotgreave, from Friends of the Earth, said: “A 5p charge may not have sounded like much, but the plummeting number of single-use plastic bags demonstrates the difference that can be made by effective legislation, which is starting to make reusable shopping bags the new norm.
#StillUsePlasticBags

But for many, habits are hard to change. Plus, although they're "single-use," plastic bags can serve more than one purpose. A plastic bag can go from holding your groceries to holding your lunch, or it can simply sit in your pantry until you need it. 

#NoMoreSoftPlastic

At Whole Foods, anyone can exchange their plastic bags at the customer service counter for a reusable tote bag. Certain grocery stores, cities and states have identified the dire consequences the over-use of plastic bags have on the environment. According to Forbes' Trevor Nance:

Reuse This Bag estimates that a plastic bag has a 12-minute lifespan from when it's initially filled with groceries at the grocery store to when it is discarded. Compare this with estimates that those same plastic bags take anywhere from 10 to 1,000 years to decompose depending on what environmental conditions the bag is disposed of in. Quickly, the picture becomes clear that for a few minutes of use, plastic bags weigh heavily on long-term environmental impact.

California and Hawaii have banned plastic bags state-wide. As more local and state governments pay attention to these consequences, their citizens' behavior will gradually change.

#StillUsePlasticBags

One trillion plastic bags are used across the world every year. Sometimes using plastic bags is simply a matter of convenience, but for many, there is no viable alternative. Not everyone has access to sites that responsibly recycle plastic bags or to stores that offer canvas bag alternatives. As one blogger writes on Model4GreenLiving after trying a zero-waste lifestyle:

I saw first-hand that waste-free living is nearly impossible if you aren't extremely diligent and privileged with free time to do so in the first place.

And according to the Center for Biological Diversity:

Americans use 100 billion plastic bags a year, which require 12 million barrels of oil to manufacture.
The average American family takes home almost 1,500 plastic shopping bags a year.

Plastic bags have a long way to go before behavior changes completely.

FINAL RESULTS
Culture
Have you stopped using plastic bags?
A festive crown for the winner
#NoMoreSoftPlastic
#StillUsePlasticBags