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Created by Bag Free World, a global initiative that aims to eliminate the use of single-use plastic bags, International Plastic Bag Free Day is celebrated on July 3rd. This day promotes environmental conservation by encouraging people to reject plastic bags. It also raises awareness of the harm that plastic bags do to nature, animals, and marine life.

Plastic bag, pollution

Facts about plastic you really need to know

We seriously need to do something about the plastic pollution in the world. Some governments and organizations are doing their part to reduce plastic use and help the environment, but as consumers, it’s important to know how and why the end of plastic use is so necessary. Here are some facts about plastic you really need to know:

  1. According to a report from the Guardian, an estimated 8.3 billion tons of plastic have been produced since the 1950s, that’s equivalent to the weight of more than 800,000 Eiffel Towers. And only 9% of it has been recycled.
  2. Kenya introduced one of the world’s toughest laws against plastic bags in 2017. Now, Kenyans who are caught producing, selling, or even using plastic bags will risk imprisonment of up to four years or fines of $40,000 USD.
  3. According to National Geographic, 73% of all beach litter is plastic. The litter includes filters from cigarette butts, bottles, bottle caps, food wrappers, grocery bags, and polystyrene containers.
  4. A report by the Guardian said that 1 million plastic bottles are bought around the world every minute, and this number is set to increase by another 20% by 2021 if we don’t act.
  5. According to Ecowatch, between 500 billion and 1 trillion plastic bags are used worldwide annually.
  6. According to World Economic Forum researchers, just 10 rivers across Asia and Africa carry 90% of the plastic that ends up in the oceans.
  7. According to the United Nations, the ingestion of plastic kills an estimated 1 million marine birds and 100,000 marine animals each year.
  8. On average, a plastic bag is used for 25 minutes! And then takes up to 500 years to decompose.
Plastic bag, pollution

Measures to phase out single-use plastic bags in the world

According to Zero Waste Europe, in order to limit the amount of single-use plastic bags some countries in the world are opting for bans, taxation, or different forms of voluntary agreements. Banning plastic bags is most effective in cases when they pose an imminent and clear threat, however, bans depend on strong law enforcement capacity. Other countries that have banned, partially banned, or taxed single-use plastic bags are China, France, Rwanda, and Italy.

The European Commission recently announced that single-use plastic products will be prohibited by the year 2021. At the same time, they have committed to making all packaging out of this material recyclable within 12 years.

How to Celebrate?

The fact that companies and governments regulate the use of plastic and eliminate single-use plastic is a huge advance to reduce pollution. However, what each one of us as consumers do to improve the situation also counts for a great deal. Here are some ideas to eliminate plastic bags:

  1. Say no to single-use plastic bags at stores, supermarkets, or any commerce.
  2. Take your own cloth or paper bag when you go shopping. 
  3. Volunteer your time or money with an environmental organization that works on cleaning water and landmasses of plastic bags.
  4. Recycle all the plastic in your house and office.
  5. Spread the word to your family and friends.
  6. When you travel check the hotel’s policies towards plastic. For example, at Eco Hotels & Resorts all of our member hotels have banned single-use plastic from their properties. 
  7. If you are a company, make promotional cloth bags to give away to your clients and customers.

Around the world, efforts are being made to reduce the amount of plastic bags that end up in landfills or in our oceans. As you can see, plastic bags are a significant environmental concern. As humans, we need to start taking action and ban them from our homes, finding eco-friendly substitutes.

THIS IS SUSTAINABLE TRAVEL | A NEW KIND OF TRAVEL

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