Although they are used less and less, either because of the measures that force businesses to charge them or because the population is more aware, the truth is that the use of plastic bags and their contamination is still a big problem in today’s society…
For a long time, plastic bags have been, without a doubt, the representation of consumerism at its best, where disposable products prevail. Little by little, the trend of consuming single-use items is decreasing, but there is still a long way to go to reduce the use of plastics and their pollution.
Plastic and pollution: effects on the Planet
Did you know that there are already microplastics in the air we breathe? According to a study published in April 2022 in Nature Geoscience, microplastics can travel up to 100 kilometres through the atmosphere.
But they are not only found in the environment. To this, we must add the average of 8 million tons of plastics dumped into the oceans each year, without forgetting the contamination by terrestrial plastics, which can be up to 23 times higher than the navy.
This means that humans are consuming an average of about 21 grams of plastics per month, equivalent to about 2,000 pieces of microplastics per week or about 250 grams per year.
And it does not only affect us; plastics and their pollution also have a very harmful impact on the environment and other living beings. They were responsible for many diseases, ecosystems, and even climate problems.
It is estimated that just with the plastic pollution of the seas, around 100,000 marine animals and more than 1 million birds die yearly.
Why shouldn’t plastic bags be used?
The use of single-use bags poses a triple threat to the environment. And is that these plastics pollute when they are manufactured, during their use, and after being discarded.
Let’s see the 5 main reasons why the use of plastic bags should be avoided:
They are made with vast petroleum majority of single-use plastic bags are made of polyethene, a petroleum derivative, which, as the vast majority of the population knows, is a very scarce, expensive, and non-renewable raw material.
In addition, a large amount of energy needs to be generated for its extraction and production, causing significant emissions of greenhouse gases.
- Very difficult to recycle
Only 1% of the almost 5 billion bags consumed annually are recycled. If we put all the plastic bags consumed in a year in a row, we could go up to 7 times around the world.
This very alarming figure reflects the severe problem of plastics and their contamination. And it is not recycled, partly due to the lack of awareness in society, but mainly because it is up to 100 times more expensive to recycle a bag than to manufacture it because the material used is very soft, light, and fibrous, causing it to become entangled in machines used in recycling plants.
In addition, due to the material with which they are made, they are not suitable for incineration either, since they emit many toxic gases into the environment.
- Plastic and pollution of natural spaces
As we have already mentioned, one of the biggest problems of plastics is the contamination of the oceans and terrestrial natural spaces, which are directly responsible for the death and diseases of all living beings.
Many animals confuse them with food, which causes poisoning and suffocation. Likewise, during their degradation, they also emit toxic substances that seriously affect the soil’s flora and state.
- They can last up to 1000 years.
It is estimated that a plastic bag can take between 500 and 1,000 years to degrade fully. Therefore, the current problem of plastics and their contamination affects us and all future generations.
- Large consumption for average use of 10 minutes
They are one of the most consumed products today, manufacturing 1 million plastic bags per minute, one of the most polluting, and with a negligible percentage of recycling. However, the average use the user gives is usually around 10 minutes.
That is why it is imperative to act now and start reducing its consumption as much as possible if we do not want the environmental impact to be greater and greater until we reach a point of no return.
Cash Converter’s commitment to the environment
At Cash Converters, we are very aware of the environment, which is why we have been committed to a circular consumption model for more than 25 years, which beliefs in giving products a second chance.
In our desire to achieve a better and more environmentally friendly world, we created the Converters Movement, which more than 327,346 people have already joined.
And as the example shows, to contribute our grain of sand in reducing plastics and their pollution, one of the first measures we adopted with the Converters Movement was the incorporation of paper bags in 2017, and a year later, in September 2018, the decision was made to eliminate plastic bags in all stores and our offices.
These measures have been followed by a large number of initiatives to achieve a business model based on intelligent consumption. Some of the milestones to highlight throughout these years have been:
- 2019. Implementation of recycling points for batteries in stores and offices.
- 2020. Green Ticket Usage.
- 2021. Use of green energy in most stores and offices.
- 2021. Different initiatives have saved the Planet more than 2,022,532 kg of CO2.
And you, what actions are you taking to reduce plastic pollution? We want to know all your tricks. Tell us about them in the comments.