RODALE NEWS, EMMAUS, PA—The plastic shopping bag is as much of an ecopariah these days as Hummers and executive bonuses. And it’s about to sink even lower. Achim Steiner, executive director for the United Nations Environment Programme, recently called for a worldwide ban on plastic bags, after his agency released a report analyzing the growing global problem of marine litter. A large portion of that ocean trash comes from plastic items and plastic bags, which find their way into oceans either from coastal areas or from being blown off garbage trucks and barges as they transport trash from urban areas to landfills. Once they land in the ocean, the plastic trash does double damage: It absorbs industrial contaminants in the water, such as mercury and DDT, and then gets eaten by marine animals that mistake it for food. If the animals don’t choke on the plastic, they may wind up in fishing nets, and all those industrial contaminants absorbed by the plastic wind up back on our plates.
Here are 8 ways to keep plastic packaging out of the ocean:
|1. Pick up dog poop. No need to waste money buying special doggie-doo bags. Reuse your plastic produce, frozen veggie, or bread bags instead. Just be sure to flush Fido’s output down the toilet; tossing it in the trash could contaminate groundwater supplies near landfills.|