This article written by Jean-Michel Cousteau is one with which Be Plastic Bag Free totally concurs:
They invade our homes, lurk in our back yards, wander our streets, swim in our oceans, float down our rivers and find shelter in our bushes and trees. They are found in the most populated areas and the most remote places on earth. They need no resources to persist and may outlive the human race. We cannot ignore them, we cannot escape them and we cannot destroy them.
The overwhelming prevalence of plastic bags on earth has created a problem so extensive that many countries around the world are taking action to prevent plastic bag distribution. As early as 1988 environmentally minded people realized the true costs of single-use plastic bags far outweighed the benefits. By 1998, thirty Alaskan villages banned the plastic bag. Now in 2011, multiple countries have banned or taxed the bag. Multiple cities including cities in the US have banned the bag.
There is clear eveidence that bans and taxes do reduce the amount of single use plastic bags in the environment.
Although battles are boing won at the local level, the opposition is not going down without a fight. Most cities have met with resistance from the American Chemical Council (ACC), the main proponent for single use plastic bags. A sub-section of the ACC, the Save the Plastic Bag Coalition, and the Coalition to Support Plastic Bag Recycling have both filed and won lawsuits against the cities, claiming that the bans were passed without sufficient Environmental Impact Reports. While plastic bags bans enacted by Oakland and Manhattan Beach, CA are currently ineffective due to this complication, Fairfax avoided being sued by passing a voter initiative to ban plastic bags.
Small-scale successes have given us hope and the knowledge essential for large-scale change. Although California’s previous campaigns for a statewide ban have failed, defenders of the environment are not giving up. The movement away from single-use plastics and towards sustainable practices is continually gaining speed.
Education programs and recycling programs are steps in the right direction, but statistics have shown they are not enough to change shopper’s behavior. Experience is telling us that in order to get results, the plastic bag has to be a valuable commodity or get rid of it.
At Ocean Futures Society we support banning single-use plastic bags because we stand behind the principle, “There is no waste in nature”. This means that in nature everything is recycled in one way or another. Even the harmful chemical defenses of plants and animals are naturally broken down into harmless raw materials that become available for reuse. We strongly believe it is crucial to stop producing disposable plastic bags that create waste that neither humans or nature can adequately dispose. There are more environmentally friendly materials that can be used to carry our groceries and belongings. We are not against the use of durable plastic for long-lasting products, it just does not make sense to use a plastic bag for 10 minutes and then throw it away, liberating it to linger on our planet for thousands of years. We should be smarter than that. But it takes willingness to create change. We need to rise to the challenge and support those companies and cities that are moving in the right direction; the direction we need to follow so we can all enjoy a sustainable future.