Summer is in full swing, which means hot (and for our team here in Maine…humid) days are here to stay. Nicer weather means that more people will be adventuring outside and enjoying the fresh air. People will be taking their drinks, snacks, and outdoor essentials on the go with them outside, meaning that they’ll be using a bag when packing up for the day or grabbing a bag at the store when they pick up their essentials. But what kind of bag are they reaching for? Unfortunately, for many it’s still a single-use plastic bag rather than reusable bags.
Americans use 100 billion plastic bags a year, which require 12 million barrels of oil to manufacture. On average, Americans use 365 plastic bags per person each year. That is a ton of single-use plastic bags. Yes, some are getting recycled, but most are ending up in landfills (or worse …littering our planet). Only 1 in 7 plastic bags will get recycled. This growing trend is something we can (and should!) do something about. We can encourage others to reach for reusable bags and other alternatives instead of plastic bags!
There’s a lot to consider when looking at the plastic bag situation in our world. In some communities, access to reusable alternatives is simply not an option, or the convenience and affordability of single-use items are important to their daily wellbeing. So, this is simply not a black and white issue, as with most issues of our day. But we are confident that reusable bags can be a part of the solution, even if not the whole solution to a complex but important problem.
Single-use waste in general is an important topic to address. According to recent studies, plastic items dominate garbage in the ocean. Plastic bags are the top garbage item found in our oceans today. The very top! Plastic bottles were the second most found item in the ocean. Think of how many bags and bottles that must mean are littering our oceans and threatening ecosystems. This is a serious and immediate problem that must be taken seriously at all levels.
When we know better, we can do better. Switching to reusable bags and encouraging your audience to do the same is a great first step in doing our part to solve this issue. Customized reusable bags are a great way to make a stand and showcase your commitment to sustainability!