Did you know that an estimated 1 million birds, along with thousands of other sea animals, die every year from ingesting discarded plastic bags? Every year, people use almost 500 billion to one trillion plastic bags, totaling around 500 plastic bags per person. It's important to know what you can do to reduce your role in this excessive waste, and how cutting down your plastic bag use can help keep the planet safe for years to come.
Reuse - If you already have a ton of plastic bags in your home, you can take the first steps to conservation by reusing them. Instead of adding on to the collection, next time you visit the grocery store, bring some with you to use then. Or, at some retail locations, they have the option available for you to recycle your old plastic bags, instead of throwing them away to pile up in a landfill. (There's already more than enough in there. Every year, the average American throws away nearly 185 pounds of plastic.)
BYOB - Bring your own bag! Some retailers have started selling custom bags that you can reuse every time you shop, usually made from woven fabric. These custom bags can help you reduce your plastic usage, but also prevent you from leaning back on paper bags, which account for nearly 14 million cut trees every year. Not to mention that these bags are reusable for any other occasion, and can be made with nearly any desired design.
Spread the word - It's not enough to assume everyone else will follow your lead in living a more sustainable lifestyle. The more you learn about the dangers of plastic waste, the more you can spread that knowledge to your family and friends, helping them to understand why an adjustment is necessary.