3 reasons why you shouldn’t use plastic bags

Plastic bags are a huge problem. According to the Just Say No campaign, a Sustainability Victoria initiative against plastic bag usage in Australia, approximately 80 million plastic bags litter the environment every year.

On average, plastic bags take 1,000 years to break down, meaning this is a problem that won't go away anytime soon. Therefore, people the world over are being encouraged to adopt new methods of carrying products, such as reusable bags, to cut down on plastic consumption. While many people understand that plastic carrier bags are bad for the environment, what exactly makes them so harmful?

They create litter

The Northern Territory Environmental Protection Authority states that litter collection – of which plastic bags are a major contributor – costs Australian governments $200 million each year. This is a colossal amount of money, and if plastic bag usage was decreased, it's also likely that the amount spent on cleaning up litter would go down too. 

This would free the environment of toxic materials and other related issues caused by excessive plastic use, as well as making our planet are prettier place to live. 

They harm animals

As plastic bags are lightweight and float easily, this means they can travel long distances when picked up by the wind. Often, the bags will fall along the coast and other areas of animal habitats, which creatures then attempt to eat, only to choke and eventually starve to death. After the animal carcass has rotted away, the bag is normally released – only for the whole process to be repeated again.

Removing plastic bags from our society will not only rid us of waste and unnecessary expense, it will also help to protect our wildlife and landscape for which Australia is renowned for. According to Animals Australia, a national animal welfare charity, 100,000 animals are killed by plastic bags every year. 

They are expensive

The idea that plastic bags are a freebie when doing your weekly shop or other activities is a fallacy. The production price is often incorporated into taxes and other fees, meaning that the price of your groceries, clothes and other items increase to factor in these associated costs. This suggests that although eco-friendly bags may seem initially more expensive, in the long run they work out cheaper – so the more you use them the less you pay!

Tasmanian residents are in effect paying less for their goods compared to some of the rest of the country, due to the state-wide ban on plastic bags in retail. Tasmanian Plastic Shopping Bags Ban Act 2013 intends to legally reduce plastic bag usage and increase awareness of other green alternative options.