Governments around the world have been rolling out legislation to help curb the plastic pollution crisis, but the most pervasive ban thus far has been of single-use plastic shopping bags. But do these bans really work? The answer is a resounding YES!
How Do We Know Plastic Bag Bans Are Working?
According to a 25-year study by the United Kingdom’s Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquatic Science, the number of plastic bags found in the water has dropped by approximately 30 percent since bag bans began. Which is a promising start.
The oceans surrounding the UK aren’t the only areas seeing results either, a plastic bag ban in San Jose California has lead to an estimated 89 percent reduction of plastic litter in storm drains, 60 percent reduction in creeks and rivers and a 59 percent decrease in streets and neighborhoods according to city officials.
Though these plastic bag bans have been showing great success in reducing bags in our natural environment, the amount of litter has remained the same. Though the number of plastic bags has decreased, there has been an influx of other plastic materials including; straws, utensils, fishing debris and bottles. Which many U.S. cities and the UK are beginning to ban.
Why Should You Care?
Worldwatch Institute has found that over 267 species of marine life have suffered from entanglement or ingestion of debris and tens of thousands of whales, turtles, birds, dolphins and seals die every year as a result. While a study conducted by the European Commission discovered that 90 percent of seabirds examined had plastic in their stomachs.
The issue has become so pervasive that it’s not only affecting sea life anymore but people as well. These plastics that are in the ocean break down and have contaminated our food chain, drinking water and even our salt!
What We Can Do
We are seeing fewer bags in the ocean and that is a great start! But there is still a lot of other gunk in there. With more bans on single-use plastic on the horizon, we can be hopeful that there will be an even larger reduction of plastics in our environment. However, this is a multifaceted issue.
Utensil, straw and plastic bag bans are a tremendous step in the right direction. But what about the other things we use every day that come in plastic containers?
Soaps, shampoos, detergents and more all come in single-use plastic bottles; and these are still poisoning our oceans too.
We Want Refill aims to get plastic out of your household items by rallying for retailers to accept refill technology into their stores, so consumers can make more informed and sustainable choices.
If local plastic bag bans are making this kind of an impact, imagine what refill could do? Help us contribute to the fight against single-use, sign the petition today!