The state of plastic bags today (Thank you BBC!) – by Rebecca Mayer

Good old BBC.  In addition to giving us Mr. Darcy, they’ve published a concise and interesting analysis of the state of plastic bags worldwide, but particularly in the E.U. – see the news report (What Should Be Done about Plastic Bags?) here.

The article is packed with interesting information (for example, did you know that Bangladesh banned very thin plastic bags because they clogged the country’s drainage systems, exacerbating deadly floods?) and questions like  – what is a good alternative to plastic shopping bags?

According to BBC news writer Chris Summers, paper shopping bags are popular in the US because of lobbying by the powerful wood pulp industry, but they will only be a viable option if re-used at least 4 times.  And, as I can confirm, they do not make a good “bin liner.”

Compostable bags, so popular with advertisers and in the UAE, only compost if exposed to certain specific conditions.  According to Summers:

Compostable bags only biodegrade in industrial composting plants. Biodegradable bags will biodegrade in the natural environment, but come in different types:

  • Those made of corn will biodegrade in a landfill environment, but while doing so they produce methane, a powerful global warming gas
  • Another type of bag is oxo-biodegradable, which will biodegrade if exposed to air or water, but not in landfill

Looking for more information about plastic bag bans?  Check out Plasticbaglaws.org.

It may not be Mr. Darcy in a translucent white shirt, but together we can ensure that clean water is available for many photo ops to come.

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About bagitmovie

Bag It is a documentary film following the world wide use of plastic bags, plastic's impact on the environment and human health.
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