When we go to the grocery store, we do not even think twice about the plastic bag we use. However, this use-once-and-throw-away item rarely ever gets recycled, not only becoming an eyesore littering our environment, but harming marine animals and birds.
Given all the negative impacts surrounding plastic bags, New Jersey needs to start looking into ways to tackle this issue. Putting a fee on plastic bags is a step in the right direction.
However, that will not protect marine life, reduce litter or reduce our waste stream by encouraging more recycling. Placing a fee may stop some individuals from using a plastic bag, but it does not guarantee that the bag will be recycled.
Instead of a pure ban, the bag alternatives need to be biodegradable or recyclable bags since the problem is the plastic bag getting into the environment causing damage.
The production of plastic bags requires both petroleum and natural gas. With soaring gas prices and the dangers of fracking, it is not worth using these resources, especially since we use an estimated 100 billion plastic bags a year in the United States.
Plastic bags can take up to 1,000 years to decompose, never decomposing completely, instead becoming microscopic pieces of plastic. There are massive areas in our oceans of this plastic debris.
These minuscule pieces of plastic can leach toxins into the soil and groundwater and enter our food chain if eaten.
It is up to each one of us to prevent this plastic bag calamity from getting worse by supporting a ban on plastic bags that aren’t biodegradable.
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