We seem to be inundated with information as of late about being "green". I'm aware, but for the most part it goes in the left ear and out the right. It feels expensive. i.e. "buying a green car". Even switching to eco friendly cleaning products takes time, effort and money. But we CAN do small things that have a massive impact.
According to the World Watch Institute, Americans throw away 100 BILLION PLASTICS BAGS PER YEAR. And according to EarthShare members of the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), one plastic bag can take up to 1,000 YEARS to decompose.
In the past decade, governments around the globe have underscored the need to cut plastic bag usage:
San Francisco. In 2007, San Francisco became the first U.S. city to outlaw plastic grocery bags.
New York City. In 2008, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg took aim at plastic bags, proposing a plan that requires stores to charge six cents per plastic bag used. All designed to reduce the use of plastic bags and increase the use of their reusable counterparts.
Ireland. In March 2002, Ireland instituted a tax of 15 cents per plastic bag, which has led to more than a 90 percent reduction in overall usage.
Africa. In 2007, Africa made a bold move, initiating a continent-wide ban on plastic bags, encouraging the use of reusable bags such as those made from burlap.
China. In 2008, the Chinese government made plans to ban free plastic bags in order to cut down on litter and pollution. The ban could also save the country as much as 37 million barrels of oil, used to produce the bags.
Wow. Africa is ahead of us in this?
Retailers have taken a stand also:
Ikea. In 2007, the home furnishings retailer began charging five cents per plastic bag to reduce consumption and encourage shoppers to use reusable bags. Proceeds from the plastic bags—estimated at $7 million—will be donated to EarthShare member, American Forests.
Target. Target recently partnered with popular magazines like People, to encourage shoppers to mail in their plastic Target bags in an effort to recycle them into reusable totes. Send your bags in before November 30, 2008 and receive a free Target Retote. (Bags are also available for sale.)
Wal-Mart. In 2008, Wal-Mart partnered with the EDF to cut down plastic bag usage by one-third by 2013. Through its reuse and recycling efforts, Wal-Mart expects to eliminate more than 135 million pounds of plastic waste globally.
Whole Foods. In early 2008 the organic food retailer stopped using plastic bags, encouraging shoppers to use reusable totes.
Last weekend while in Houston I purchased my reusable shopping bags. (They range from $.99-1.99.) I have right at 1,000,000 plastic Wal-Mart bags under my kitchen sink. And yes, I do reuse them. But from now on, I'm doing the reusable tote thing. I'm simply going to put them all into one tote and take them in the store with me. I'll look really cool, AND make God smile.
I'm just sure that He likes me helping keep His lovely creation eco-friendly. 1 Corinthians says "the Earth is the Lords...". Somehow I think He's offended at plastic bags lying around on His exquisite creation for 1,000 years...I can easily help change that.