Every time you go to the supermarket, you come away with your purchases in plastic bags. But wouldn’t it be kinder to the environment if you asked for paper bags instead?
According to the American Plastics Council 80 percent of groceries in the US are packed in plastic bags.
“The numbers are becoming huge,” said Vincent Cobb, a businessman from Chicago who set up “reusable bags. com” on the Internet. He notes that consumers use between 500 billion and 1 trillion plastic bags per year worldwide.
Some experts believe that all these bags harm the environment. Plastic takes hundreds of years to break down and, as it does so, poisonous materials are released into the water and soil.
Further damage is caused if plastic bags enter the sea. For example, endangered sea turtles cannot tell the bags from jellyfish(水母), their main source of food, and often choke on them.
Floating plastic bags have been spotted as far north as the Arctic Ocean and as far south as the southern end of South America. One expert predicts that, within ten years, plastic bags will wash up in Antarctica!
Paper bags are readily recyclable. Plastic or water-resistant coatings or layers make recycling more difficult.