HI EAST, you might be surprised, but we do everything possible here in the USA to top your numbers and stats:
This week California’s Senate has voted down a measure that would have banned plastic bags at grocery stores. The new ban was rejected by a 21 to 14 vote. Environmental groups such as the Sierra Club encouraged Californians to contact their state senators to push for the measure.
The American Chemistry Council criticized California Assemblywoman Julia Brownley, D-Santa Monica, who proposed the bill. “Her proposed legislation to ban plastic grocery bags in California … is bad for the economy and bad for the environment: It will eliminate several hundred California manufacturing jobs and dismantle existing plastic bag recycling programs.”
In good circumstances, high-density polyethylene will take more than 20 years to degrade. In less ideal circumstances (land fills or as general refuse), a bag will take more than 1,000 years to degrade.
Estimates by the BBC and CNN claim that anywhere from 5% to 3% of all bags only, winds up recycled. The same study also stated that 10% of the plastic produced every year worldwide winds up in the ocean. 70% of which finds its way to the ocean floor, where it will likely never degrade.
When plastics break down, they don’t biodegrade; they photodegrade. This means the materials break down to smaller fragments which readily soak up toxins. They then contaminate soil, waterways, and animals upon digestion – And by this consequently us as well.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the U.S. goes through 100 billion plastic shopping bags annually, that’s about 333 bags per person a year, considering 300 Million people are living in the USA. Per capita the U.S. citizens produce 760 kg (1,672 pound of municipal waste per year.)