One trillion plastic bags are used globally each year. Just a friendly reminder what one trillion looks like that’s 1,000,000,000,000 – it’s hard to even comprehend such a number. Don’t worry! We can break it down! That’s 115.2 million in one hour, 1.92 million in one minute, and 32,000 in one second. The United States is estimated to use about 380 billion plastic bags each year, contributing to 38% of the global total.
What do you do with your plastic bags? If you’re anything like me you will have a ridiculous amount of bags at your house, all bundled and stashed inside, yet another, plastic bag. You will notice plastic bags stuck in fences, decorating the ditches of I-94, and floating in our lakes. If you’re also like me, you will never remember to bring your reusable bags inside the store when you go shopping, although, they might make it to the car.
So how do we fix this?
Banning plastic bags in larger cities is a trend worth catching on, and it’s happening. Numerous notable cities such as: Austin, TX., Chicago, IL., Los Angeles, CA., San Francisco, CA., and Seattle, WA., have all banned single-use plastic bags from large retail stores. While other larger cities such as: Boulder, CO., New York, NY., Portland, ME., and Washington D.C., have implemented added fees to plastic bag usage.
In early May of this year Minneapolis announced that it would be joining this trend by implementing a city-wide ban of plastic bags beginning June 1, 2017. However, within a few weeks the state Legislator blocked this initiative by passing a bill that prohibits any city from banning plastic bags. The reason given? It would cause too much confusion for businesses and consumers.
Let’s pause for a second.
We don’t want to implement a change to our lifestyle, that would have nothing but positive affects to our planet, our waste system, and future generations because it might be too confusing? Is it really too confusing to bring reusable bags when you go shopping? Is it too confusing to create new habits and routines that will benefit the environment?
In 2016 I visited San Jose, CA. When I was checking out at the grocery store I was not very enthused to find out there was a city wide plastic bag ban. I had never heard of such a thing! I was forced to find a way to carry my purchased items back to the hotel without a bag. Once the annoyance started to settle, it hit me how absolutely incredible the idea was. A city fighting to protect our planet? Putting aside it’s corporate greed for something beneficial to our community?
When you pause for a minute and reflect on what makes you upset about this inconvenient ban, you will realize that your reasoning is completely selfish.
You should be excited about the idea of being expected to help protect our planet and proud to represent a city that is striving for change.
We need to fight to bring back this opportunity to Minneapolis, we can’t live life being afraid to face our responsibilities. It is time for us to start being the change we wish to see.