The ease of plastic carry bags’ use in everyday life is for granted. Even for a box of pills from the pharmacy a small plastic bag will “lighten the weight” off our hands… Especially since we are not charged extra (at least obviously!), it does not concern us at all to find some alternative, more environmentally friendly and by extension more friendly for ourselves.
It is certain that in our time we have been through use of plastic bags (early 60’s) to overuse. According to EU figures, every European uses an average of about 198 single-use plastic bags annually, although the figures vary from country to country. For example, the Danes consume just about 4 bags per year, 79 the French, while the Portuguese, Poles and Slovaks around 500!
The explanation of this enormous discrepancy is that some countries (among them Denmark) have imposed fees on the use of plastic bags eventually preventing consumers from using them without prudence. And if other European countries follow the example of the Danes, the overall use of plastic bags in the European Union can be reduced by up to 80%!
In some countries outside Europe, such as in Tanzania, South Africa and India, the use of plastic bags is already banned.
In Greece, on average we use more than 240 plastic bags per person. 300 million euros is the estimated cost of the plastic bags we use for about 15 minutes, that is as long as we need to take our shopping from the supermarket or other commercial shops at home. After that 300 million euros end up in our trash…
Plastic bags pollute the environment in many different ways. They represent a large proportion of the garbage that is thrown in the environment and it takes centuries to decompose fully.
At sea they dissolve even more slowly, except if in the meantime they reach the stomach of birds, fish, turtles, dolphins and other creatures who mistake them for food, a fact that usually results in death. Moreover, the plastic bags cover the seagrass and thus deaden the area. Finally, on ground, the plastic burdens the soil and water with hazardous chemicals when it starts to decompose, while any burning pollutes the atmosphere and contributes to global warming.
The European Parliament, recognizing the magnitude of the problem, comes to put an end to the overuse of plastic bags with a new European directive that gives the member-states of the EU two choices: Either to take steps so that the average annual consumption may not exceed 90 light bags per citizen by the end of 2019 and 40 by the end of 2025 or to prohibit their free provision at the shops, the latest by the end of 2018.
It’s about time to change harmful habits on our own – not because we are forced by others to do so, but because we must do it for our own good. A very simple and effective way is to start using cloth bags in our daily lives, which are both durable and environmentally friendly. In the bakery, the supermarket, the grocery store, wherever we can, we can always have with us our absolute ecological multipurpose bag. So simply and inexpensively, we can significantly reduce the burden on the environment.
Put a stop at the use of plastic bags …it’s good for you!