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BG Falcon Media

Independent student content

BG Falcon Media

Independent student content

BG Falcon Media

The BG News
BG24 Newscast
November 30, 2023

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Plastic grocery bags: Keep out of reach of the environment

Do you remember your last trip to one of the grocery stores?

You probably browsed, found your selection and bought it. Afterward, the inevitable would have been asked: Would you like a bag?

Well of course I want a bag! How else am I going to get this junk into my room?

Though getting the standard plastic bag at the grocery may seem like a simple act of convenience, the repercussions are quite large.

When considering the amount of people who are also getting bags, the amount of bags per person, and the number of trips to the grocery store in a week, we’re talking a serious amount of plastic.

This is not a new issue. According to, nearly 10 million plastic bags are thrown away (not recycled) every day around the world. These 10 million plastic bags, which, among other things, do not decompose, have been known to be accidentally ingested by unsuspecting animals, and clog drainage ditches.

The myriad of bad effects from the use and improper disposal of plastic bags may pale in comparison to over consumption of oil or coal, but unlike either of these materials, plastic bag consumption is easy to fix.

More progressive nations in Europe and the former continent turned country Australia have all adopted legislation to reduce the use of plastic bags. The legislation is largely in the form of an extra fee that one would have to pay each time a plastic bag is acquired from a store.

The thought is a simple economic principle: The higher the price, the less quantity is demanded. Put another way: People are going to be upset that they have to pay, so they may not rely so much on plastic.

A reduction in plastic bags does not necessarily have to lead to a reduction in shopping. Often progressive Web sites offer suggestions for people who are trying to decrease their waste. Such suggestions include reusing those plastic bags that you have stored in your room, or to bring your own cloth bag to the store.

The benefits of the “supply your own bag” strategy are plentiful. For one, it is accessible to anyone who has gone shopping before. Also, it allows anyone who wishes to, in a small way, contribute to a better world. As an eventual effect, less plastic bags in circulation will mean fewer bags in the trash, clogging pipes, or trapping small sea animals.

The sad truth is that we, as Americans, are taught to abide by… or at least recognize the three R’s: reduce, reuse and recycle, yet we only seem to employ recycling. What makes the three R’s a valuable tool is its all-encompassing dimensions. To resort solely to recycling is not necessarily a way to decrease energy consumption.

By reusing plastic bags, or opting for cloth bags, consumers can bypass the energy required to run recycling plants, only further benefiting the earth.

Even if you can’t bring yourself to remember every single time you shop, there have been massive efforts lately to improve recycling technology. According to, the number of plastic recycling facilities has grown by 80 percent since 1990.

Also, the market for recycled plastics has also increased in the past decade. According to the same source, 56 percent of recycled plastics turn into the fiber for carpet and clothing, another 22 percent are used to make plastic bottles, and around 18 percent are remade as plastic piping.

As if this cornucopia of useful items weren’t enough, recycled plastic bags have also become a modern hip form of material for carrying bags. Web sites such as offer a variety of products from bags to sweaters made of things like recycled plastic bags, and recycled aluminum.

Environmentalism does not have to be as scary as you might think. With a little bit of effort, and maybe some creativity, helping the environment does not have to be out of your reach.

Send comments to Chad Puterbaugh at [email protected].

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