There is no doubt that plastic bags contribute to waste. Every year, more than 1 trillion bags are thrown away worldwide with 2 million plastic bags being used every single minute of the day around the globe. Only about .5 to 3 percent of those bags end up recycled, so the majority of the plastic bags that are used around the world end up in landfills where they take more than 500 years to decompose.
Due to growing concerns about the environmental impact of plastic bags, a number of cities have worked to enact plastic bag bans. State lawmakers in many areas have been working to try and restrict the use of plastic bags as well; however, there has been staunch opposition both from large businesses that use plastic bags and the plastics industry.
So far, only one state has managed to enact legislation to ban plastic bags--Hawaii. Back in July , Oahu finally followed the lead of the rest of the populated islands in Hawaii by imposing a ban on most plastic grocery bags. Plastic bags are still permitted when buying items in bulk quantities or when it is necessary to protect items being purchased for medical reasons or that would be unsanitary to carry in another way.
California has also tried to enact a law that would require people to pay money to purchase disposable plastic bags in stores; however, the matter is being put to a vote in the 2016 election due to opposition to the law.
Not all states are being as forward thinking as California and Hawaii. In Arizona, a law was actually passed this year to make it illegal for cities or counties in the state to ban plastic bags.
With the plastics lobby wielding so much power in state legislatures, it's important for those who support reductions in plastic bag use to make their voices heard. Even if you live in a place where plastic bags are legal, you can take steps to make your grocery shopping greener by using reusable bags like the ones made by Chico Bag.
How do you feel about plastic bag bans? Share your opinion in the comments!