Problematic Plastic Bags
by Carlos Kovalsky
It is normal that as people become wealthier, they consume more. They tend to buy more food, more cars, more clothing, toys etc. After World War II, President Eisenhower's Council of Economic Advisors concentrated their efforts to save the economy on important increases in consumption. Unfortunately, from a global perspective, this strategy has backfired in terms of a huge depletion of the world's natural resources. According to Global Cool, a non-profit organization concerned with global warming, “in the last three decades, one third of the world's natural resources have been consumed.” In addition to this, forty percent of the water in America has become undrinkable, which obviously is worrisome, especially for the generations to come. Since Al Gore started lobbying in favor of saving the planet, our government has taken conscience to the point that the environment is now a key factor in the current presidential race.
In the United States, especially, overconsumption has led specifically to an unnecessary waste of plastic via your typical shopping bag. According to the Wall Street Journal, in the US alone, “more than 100 billion plastic bags are used on a yearly basis.” Most of this plastic ends up in trash cans and ultimately landfills. It is one of the major culprits leading to the contamination of ponds, rivers, and even oceans.
Recycling campaigns, while effective, are simply not sufficient as our trash build up happens at a much faster rate. Unfortunately, the biodegradation of plastic bags can take up to 1000 years when exposed to sunlight. In landfills, they do not biodegrade at all, and, when littered, these plastic items can clog roadside drains, leading to flooding during heavy rainfall.
On the upside, more than a dozen countries, including the most populous of all, China, have taken legal action against the use of plastic bags. On June 1, 2008, the United States faces the prohibition of free plastic bags in all of its supermarkets, department stores, and shops. Other countries, such as Australia, have had the same prohibition dating back to 2003 although not on a national scale. In the US, cities like San Francisco and Oakland in California as well as Portland, Oregon have already prohibited the plastic bag in supermarkets.
Companies like Earth-Saver in Florida have specialized in earth friendly packaging made of re-usable cotton canvas and Jute. These natural fibers are non-polluting, and the bags can be re-used as many times as you like. Many people are very conscious of the pollution problems resulting from the use of plastic bags and have started using canvas bags as an alternative while shopping thereby avoiding the use of plastic or paper. They are thrilled to contribute to the fight against pollution.
About the Author:
Carlos Kovalsky is the COO of Earth-Saver (www.earth-saver.com), an environmentally friendly company in North Miami Beach that specializes in sales of Earth Friendly packaging for the retail industry. They sell Cotton canvas and Jute bags to supermarkets and a wide array of stores throughout the United States, The Caribbean and Europe, targeting the earth-conscious consumer in these areas.