Plastic shopping bags pose an enormous impact on the environment and its inhabitants, when not recycled. Of all the pollutants our planet crosses daily, plastic bags should be considered lethal and banned. The issue is the fact when not recycled they end up in the throats & stomach of wildlife, clogging gutters and sewers, and floating in waterways. Plastic bags are dangerous to all types of sea life because they are flexible and shaped just right to trap an animal or get wrapped around an animal’s neck or fin. If the bag gets stuck over a creature’s head, it can suffocate or starve.
Plastic bags pose a particular hazard to the environment when they make it into our oceans. Over 70% of the world is covered by water, and there are thousands upon thousands of miles of coastline where the bags can wash up. Once the bags are in the water, they aren’t easily biodegradable and can remain there for hundreds of years. In fact, they actually photodegrade, i.e., they break down into small toxic bits contaminating soil and waterways.
It is absolutely essential that we recycle them whenever possible, and keep them out of landfills and waterways. Or better yet, refuse plastic bags and use reusable bags!