A plastic bag – it seals in freshness, doesn’t tear so easily, weighs practically nothing and when we’re finished with it, we can just throw it away. End of story…?
Let’s see, these bags that seal in freshness also seal in bisphenol A (BPA). Even bags that are “BPA-free” can leach out chemicals with estrogenic activity (EA). In one study, researchers tested over 500 plastic products consisting of baby bottles, Tupperware containers, sandwich bags and plastic wraps. Their findings were that practically all of them leached chemicals that:
produce an increase in circulating estrogen, which in turn can cause problems such as early puberty in females, reduced sperm counts, altered function of the reproductive organs, obesity, increased rated of certain cancers and problems with infant and childhood development.” Chris Kresser – How plastic food containers could be making you fat, infertile and sick
Plastic bags do not tear so easily – a trait that makes their demise nearly impossible. When a plastic bag ends up in the trash, it ends up in a landfill. I recently did some landscaping at my father’s cabin and dug up some sheet plastic which had been buried 13 years earlier. If I had chosen to wash it off, it would have looked no different than it did new. Also, trash that ends up in our waterways (tossed out of fishing boats, off the side of ships, etc.), finds its way to the ocean and eventually to one of the floating masses of plastic which rival the size of the continental United States.
Plastic bags are lightweight, and therefore the wind can take them many places: treetops, ditches, swamps, my backyard, streams, rivers… literally anywhere. Other than your backyard and mine, this world is inhabited by creatures that neither created nor use plastic, yet they are getting it shoved into their homes. “Gone with the Wind”, but by no means negligible.
So, what do we do with our plastic bags? Even if we reuse the bags for a couple more trips to the store, pack a lunch, or pick up after our dog, the bag will be laid to rest at some point. Then what? Out of our hands is into somebody else’s hands, paws, wings, or stomachs. Can we honestly not make a choice to choose a different container?
- Joe Walls, Mississippi Market Employee, “Green Team Member”, Co-op Customer and Member-Owner