Promote Use of Reusable TotesPlastic bags are convenient, but also pose a threat to our marine life if not disposed or recycled properly: Because of its shape and lightweight, plastic bags easily get picked up by the wind or carried away in the water down the drain and into our creeks, lakes and bays. While in their original form, seabirds or mammals can entangle themselves in plastic bags, when broken down into smaller pieces, diverse species (seabirds, turtles, fish…) misperceive them as food causing a range of problems. When degraded into microplastic particles, these become part of our food chain by ingestion of fish, mussels, oysters and many other marine life.
Plastic Production is Rising
For the last 20 years, worldwide production of plastic has been increasing at an average rate of 5% per year. In 2011, 32 millions tons of plastic were produced in the US alone, a large part of that is used in packaging. (Plastics Europe, 2013, ACC, 2013, EPA, 2013 via Algalita)graph by Plastic Europe
Plastic Bag: Top 10 of Litter
Plastic Bags are consistently in the top 10 items found during coastal cleanup days around the world: 185,131 plastic bags were recovered in the US alone in 2014 (Ocean Conservancy, 2015).
8% of Plastic Gets Recycled
Only a small percentage of plastic gets currently recycled in the US (8% in 2011, compared to 28% in Europe in 2013). The remaining 92% ends up in our landfills or in our waters (Algalita, 2015).
Political Movement Against Plastic Bags
Worldwide, measures to limit or inhibit the single use of lightweight shopping bags are being put in place. Fees and bans can have a positive effect but require consequent enforcement see a list of current bans and taxes on Wikipedia, 2016.
Things You Can Do
Sell Good Quality Totes
Have your logo printed on shopping totes and sell them inexpensively to customers . Offer them at the cash register, and train your employees to offer them to customers who do not have their own bags already.Little Juno Medium Size Grocery Tote (4AllPromos)
Use Fewer Bags
Train your staff to be efficient about their bag usage. Items like gallon jugs or big boxes, probably do not need their own bag.
Offer Plastic Bag Recycling
Offer a 5¢ refund for returned plastic bags or at least have a place where customers can return their used plastic bags.Enclosed Top Recycle Bin (Amazon)
Switch to Biodegradable Bags
Biodegradable bags that are fully compostable do not leach harmful chemicals as they degrade. They also take months as opposed to years to degrade and can break down quickly in salt water, in the open air, and buried in the ground.Shopping Bags from BioBag