Plastic bags are non-biodegradable, contribute to litter, are made from non-renewable resources, and can harm animals and birds that can become entangled in or choke on the bags. It is with this in mind that Bloomfield Township suggests using alternative containers when appropriate and always properly disposing of unwanted plastic bags.
Did you know that:
- About 89 billion plastic bags, sacks and wraps are used each year in the U.S.
- It is estimated that 1 to 12 percent of those plastic bags are recycled each year
- It takes 1000 years for polyethylene bags to break down
- A five-year-long study by the Ocean Conservancy found that small plastic bags made up about 9 percent of the debris found along various U.S. coasts
Frequently Asked Questions
Why are plastic bags a danger to the environment?
Though the manufacture and use of plastic bags may not be any more hazardous to the environment than other manufacturing processes, when these containers are disposed of improperly the impact on the environment can be significant.
Are paper bags better than plastic bags?
No, the production and use of paper bags can have a greater impact on the environment. Some facts are listed below for your reference:
- In 1999, 14 million trees were cut to produce the 10 billion paper grocery bags used by Americans that year alone
- Paper bags generate 70% more air and 50 times more water pollutants than plastic bags
- Paper bags use 4 times as much energy to construct compared to a plastic bag
- Paper bags use 84 times as much energy to recycle compared to a plastic bag
- Some studies have shown that paper bags generally don’t decompose any faster in landfills than plastic bags. This is apparently due to the lack of water, light and oxygen etc, in landfills.
- Paper bags use more space in landfills than plastic bags
Are there any other alternatives to using plastic or paper bags?
Yes, durable cloth bags are available as an alternative to paper or plastic bags at most local retailers. If you must use plastic or paper bags, please dispose of them responsibly.
What are the local grocery stores doing about this issue?
Many local grocery stores offer plastic bag recycling free of charge to customers. Contact a representative at your local grocery store for the location of drop off bins.
What if I must use plastic bags?
While we understand that there are prudent uses for plastic bags, it is important to realize that many of the hazards posed by plastic bags are eliminated if the bag is properly disposed of. We recommend either the recycling or reuse of plastic bags, but always disposing of them properly.
For more information regarding plastic bag disposal and recycling please visit the following sites:
Other Recycling Tips
How to Recycle Plastic Bags