A few weeks back, T from Thistles and Whistles wrote an Open Letter to Plastics talking about this very important ecological issue. Her post was well received and that encouraged her to start a campaign she called SAVE 5000! She called this, and I quote “an experiment to make a conscious decision to try and reduce the carbon footprint and SAVE 5000 plastic bags globally on 8th October 2015!” The broader aim, of course, was to make green living a conscious lifestyle choice.
The experiment requested those participating to say no to plastics on one day, October 8, 2015. To carry reusable bags throughout the day and to let her know at the end of the day how many bags we saved. I was honored to be one of the bloggers she chose to tag along for this experiment. Although the experiment said we had to use reusable bags on just one day, 8th October, which is a Thursday, she gave us the option to choose to do more if we were game. I decided to try and do it on all Thursdays of the month of October starting 8th. At the end of the experiment, we had the option to post about our experience and how many plastic bags we saved from polluting planet earth. I promised T that I would try my best to follow through and that at the end of it, would write a post about it.
Being the forgetful person I am, I kept reminders in my calendar to carry reusable bags with me. On most weekdays, especially Thursdays, my schedule is set, I pick up my son from his Tae Kwon Do class after work, we both head to the store and stock up for the weekend. On our way to the store, I explained the concept to my son. He was excited and wanted to join in to save the planet! He gave me his two cents on the topic, everything he had learned from school. I was amazed that my son knew so much about conserving energy and going green to save the planet, it was much more than I had expected him to know.
The first day of the experiment, my son and I were really excited, to use the reusable bags to fill in our groceries. That one day we probably saved about 6-8 plastic bags which is usually the number of bags we bring home from the store on a weekly basis. We followed suit for the next two Thursdays as well. The third Thursday, however, I forgot to carry the reusable bags, so I was left with no choice but to use the plastic bags from the store. I was a little upset with myself for missing the streak especially on the last Thursday of the month. I put off posting about my experience, because I wanted to make up for the Thursday I missed.
Next week, Thursday fell on November 5, 2015 and I forgot to take my reusable bags again! Yea, that’s right, I forgot again. Thankfully, I realized that I had forgotten the reusable bags before I entered the store. So I opted to go home first, pick up the reusable bags and then head back to the store. That’s when I understood that it is not too difficult to follow through simple choices like this which may seem trivial but can have a huge impact in saving our planet!
I would really like to make this a habit, but I don’t know how many times I will forget! Nonetheless I have decided to make it a practice and continue doing this every time I remember (which by the way I am hoping is every time I go to the store!) Although my intention for writing this post was to respond to T’s campaign, I did a little bit research on the subject, and I was amazed with what I learned. I guess it’s only fair that I share it with you. Here are some very interesting facts that will leave you wondering why you use plastics!
- About 1 million plastic bags are used every minute!
- Plastic bags on average are used for 5 minutes, but take more than 1,000 years to decompose in landfills.
- When plastics break down, they don’t biodegrade; they photodegrade. They break down to smaller fragments which readily soak up toxins, contaminating soil and waterways.
- 12 million barrels of oil are used to produce 30 billion plastic bags in the U.S. alone.
- Plastic bags are a danger to birds and marine mammals that often mistake them for food and choke or die after swallowing. (Every square mile of ocean has about 46,000 pieces of plastic floating in it.)
- Retailers also pay for plastic bags, ($4 billion a year) which that cost is passed on to you as a consumer.
These facts probably are reason enough to try and reduce the usage of plastic bags. I do not know if I have been able to help reach the target of saving 5000 plastic bags, but I am glad that I am doing my part to getting there! I agree it is not easy to give up, which is why I say ‘reduce’ the usage. As the age old saying goes, let us try to do our part to “reduce and reuse!”
I found this website through T, you can follow their Feeds if you wish to participate in one of their “Plastic Bag Free Day”