Top Facts - Consumption
- Each year, an estimated 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags are consumed worldwide. That comes out to over one million per minute. Billions end up as litter each year.
- According to the EPA, over 380 billion plastic bags, sacks and wraps are consumed in the U.S. each year.
- According to The Wall Street Journal, the U.S. goes through 100 billion plastic shopping bags annually. (Estimated cost to retailers is $4 billion)
- According to the industry publication Modern Plastics, Taiwan consumes 20 billion bags a year - 900 per person.
- According to Australia's Department of Environment, Australians consume 6.9 billion plastic bags each year - 326 per person. An estimated 0.7% or 49,600,000 end up as litter each year.
Top Facts - Environmental Impact
- Hundreds of thousands of sea turtles, whales and other marine mammals die every year from eating discarded plastic bags mistaken for food.
- Plastic bags don't biodegrade, they photodegrade - breaking down into smaller and smaller toxic bits contaminating soil and waterways and entering the food web when animals accidentally ingest.
- As part of Clean Up Australia Day, in one day nearly 500,000 plastic bags were collected.
- Windblown plastic bags are so prevalent in Africa that a cottage industry has sprung up harvesting bags and using them to weave hats, and even bags. According to the BBC, one group harvests 30,000 per month.
- According to David Barnes, a marine scientist with the British Antarctic Survey, plastic bags have gone "from being rare in the late 80s and early 90s to being almost everywhere from Spitsbergen 78 degrees North [latitude] to Falklands 51 degrees South [latitude]."
- Plastic bags are among the 12 items of debris most often found in coastal cleanups, according to the nonprofit Center for Marine Conservation.
All the more reason for you to go green and help protect our environment with reusable sandwich and snack bags, market bags and totes. To purchase these bags, check out my Etsy shop or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to place an order.