INTERNATIONAL PLASTIC BAG FREE DAY
Every year on July 3rd, International Plastic Bag Free Day encourages people to cut down on the use of plastic bags.
Most people only use a plastic bag one time, then throw it away. Single-use plastic bags have motivated some cities to ban them altogether. Places that have banned disposable plastic shopping bags include:
- Leaf Rapids, Manitoba
- San Francisco, California
- Los Angeles, California
- Portland, Oregon
- Seattle, Washington
- Mexico City, Mexico
Other places have banned the use of any kind of plastic bag. Places making these measures include Hawaii, North Carolina, Italy, China, many countries in Africa, and some states in Australia and India. Overall, about 127 countries regulate plastic bags in some way. These regulations include phasing out plastic bags and providing incentives for reusable bags, too.
Despite these regulations, plastic bags continue to be a massive problem for our planet. Each year, 8 million metric tons of plastic end up in the ocean harming fish and wildlife. When plastic enters the food chain, it can also harm human health.
Other facts about plastic bags include:
- It takes between 100 and 500 years for plastic bags to disintegrate.
- We make 5 trillion plastic bags each year.
- We only use plastic bags for 25 minutes per use.
- Every minute around the world, we use 1 million plastic bags.
- Each year, plastic bags kill 100,000 marine animals.
Besides being bad for the environment, plastic bags are poorly designed, and they rarely get recycled.
HOW TO OBSERVE #PlasticBagFreeDay
Environmental organizations and concerned citizens hold events around the world. The events raise awareness of the negative impact that single-use plastics have on the environment. To participate:
- Commit to cutting down on the use of plastic bags.
- Save your plastic bags and take them to a recycling center.
- Use reusable bags for shopping.
- Educate others on the adverse effects plastic bags have on the environment.
- Learn about how plastic bags can harm animals.
- Encourage your community to reduce its reliance on plastic bags.
- Watch a documentary on single-use plastics, such as A Plastic Ocean or Bag It.
While you’re learning more about reducing plastic bag use, spread awareness for this day, too. Join the conversation on social media with #PlasticBagFreeDay or #BreakFreeFromPlastic.
INTERNATIONAL PLASTIC BAG FREE DAY HISTORY
Zero Waste Europe established International Plastic Bag Free Day in 2009. In recent years, the day has become part of the Break Free From Plastic movement. This campaign brings together an international movement of plastic pollution fighters. As of 2020, the movement has grown to nearly 6,500 individuals and over 2,400 organizations.
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