Every year, eight million metric tons of plastic waste enters the world’s oceans, including single-use plastic bags. A staggering 1 trillion single-use plastic bags are used annually worldwide, which is equal to an unimaginable 2 million bags per minute.
While most bags are used for just a few minutes, it takes roughly 500 years for many of these bags to degrade. However, know that they will never actually biodegrade, but instead will turn into toxic microplastics which continue to pollute the environment forever.
Up to 80% of plastic in the oceans drifts away from coastal areas and is pulled out to deeper water. Plastic waste is responsible for killing over 1 million marine animals every year. Currently, an estimated 100 million tons of plastic waste can be found in the oceans. If this disastrous trend continues, plastic waste is expected to outweigh all of the fish in the oceans by 2050.
Hundreds of species of marine animals, including fish, seabirds, turtles, sharks, whales, sea lions, and dolphins, are at risk of entanglement, choking, or starving as they’re forced to live in marine habitats that are rapidly becoming inundated with plastic waste.
Sea turtles often mistake plastic bags for jellyfish and unknowingly consume them as do whales and other animals. Seabirds also mistake pieces of bags and other small pieces of plastic waste for food. As their stomachs fill with plastic that isn’t passed out of their systems, animals slowly starve to death. Powerful images created by international marine wildlife conservation organization Sea Shepherd Conservation Society highlight how animals become trapped or entangled in bags causing painful injuries, strangulation, suffocation, and death.
Single-use plastics bags not only harm the environment and animals when they are discarded; their production is also extremely destructive. The United States alone uses 100 billion plastic bags every year; the average American family uses a staggering 1,500 plastic bags per year—which requires 12 million barrels of habitat-destroying oil to manufacture. Only 1% of these bags are ever recycled. The vast majority end up in landfills, and ultimately, the oceans.
When 7-Eleven stores throughout Thailand encouraged customers to opt for reusable bags, 169 million single-use plastic bags went unused in just two months! If all 7-Eleven locations offered customers the option of purchasing reusable bags made of recycled and environmentally-friendly materials, countless animals could be spared painful deaths caused by plastic!
Please sign my alert here to contact 7-Eleven’s President and CEO to urge him to ban single-use plastic bags!