Did you know that…

• Plastic bags are responsible for the death of nearly one million wild birds and animals a year after they swallow plastic bag residues. Furthermore, additional damage is caused to whales, seals, dolphins, turtles, birds and mammals. Plastic bags, the plastic connectors used to hold together a six-pack of beer, and other plastic ribbons and fastenings that end up in water pose a serious threat to animals. Birds, fish, and seals mistake plastic fragments for plankton or other food, and swallowing them unfortunately clogs or injures their digestive tract, often leading to their death. Birds have also has plastic films stuck on their beaks, causing death by hunger. Plastic can also stay in animal stomachs, thus filling it and causing ulcers that can lead to a slow and painful death. Plastic bags are also a hazard on dry land, because animals eat the ones that smell of food.

 Parts of the ocean that contain more plastic than plankton.

• The average life span of plastic bags for humans can be measured in minutes; however, their decomposition can take 40 human generations. As plastic bags decompose, they emit toxins that could eventually deprive human kind of that 40th generation…

• Approximately one million new plastic bags are consumed every minute worldwide. Less than 1 percent is recycled.

• The recycling of plastic bags is much more expensive than the production of new ones. The production cost of plastic bags from recycling is 4000 USD per 1 tonne, while their market value is only 32 USD. 1 tonne of plastic equals 150,000 plastic bags.

• If all packaging (plastic bags, plastic bottles, etc.) were sent to recycling instead of throwing it into mixed waste, we would save nearly 30% of the world’s oil use and decrease the formation of greenhouse gases to a significant extent.

• Used plastic bags can be used in the production of park benches, linings and even diesel.

• On average, 10 kg of packaging is wasted per person in one year worldwide.

• The oil used to make 8.7 plastic bags is enough for a car to drive one kilometre.

• Nearly 4% of the world’s oil output goes into making plastic material and plastic bags.

• A plastic bags tax was introduced in Ireland, with the cost of 15 cents per plastic bag, which the shoppers have to pay. Thanks to this tax, the use of plastic bags in Ireland decreased by more than 90%.

 Ireland, Israel, Canada, West-Indies, Botswana, Kenya, Tanzania, South-Africa, Taiwan, and Singapore have set restrictions on the use of plastic bags in retail.

• The ban on plastic bags in Rwanda and Eritrea is so strict that the airports in those countries do not admit tourists carrying plastic bags. The bags are simply confiscated.

• In the US, plastic bags have been banned in San Francisco and Oakland.

• China has banned the use of free plastic bags in trade, thus saving 37 million barrels of oil.

• Plastic bags were banned in Mumbai, India, and Bangladesh after the bags had clogged waste water drains and caused severe floods, resulting in the death of over one thousand people in 2005.

• Nicknames for the plastic bag include: witches’ britches (USA), witches’ knickers (Ireland), the national flag (Ireland), a curse that’s blowing in the wind (Kenya), the national flower (Kenya and South Africa), modern tumbleweed, snowbirds (Alaska), white pollution.

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