Who says Plastic Bags are Free?
The energy consumed in the manufacturing process for one HDPE singlet bag, plus the energy content of the bag (the embodied energy) is calculated as :
- Fuel consumed by driving a car 1 kilometre is equivalent to 8.7 bags; or
- Fuel consumed by driving a 28 tonne articulated truck 1 kilometre is equivalent to 64.6 bags.
- These single-use, high-density polyethylene bags are manufactured from petroleum, a nonrenewable resource. It's estimated that nearly 12 million barrels of oil are required to make the 100 billion plastic shopping bags. Plastic bags have captured more than 80 percent of the supermarket and convenience store packaging market at a cost of $4 billion per annum to U.S. retailers alone.
- Worldwide, between 500 billion and 1 trillion plastic bags are consumed each year, true costs associated with the use of disposable bags is much more than it costs the supermarkets to buy them.
- Plastic bags are not free to consumers – they are actually adding an estimated NZ$25 million and A$173 million a year to New Zealand and Australia’s grocery bills.
- A person’s use of a plastic check-out bag can be counted in minutes – however long it takes to get from the shops to their homes. Plastic bags last forever and only ever break down into smaller pieces in the environment. Findings now show that plastic like diamonds, lasts forever.
- Its been estimated that its costs governments, businesses and community groups over $4 million per annum to clean up disgarded plastic shopping bags.c
- If 6.9 billion plastic bags were tied together, they would circle the globe 42.5 times.
- 100,000's of sea turtles, seal, whales and other marine mammals die every year from mistakenly eating discarded plastic bags as a food source. Turtles think the bags are jellyfish, their primary food source. Once swallowed these plastic bags choke animals or block their intestines, leading to a long agonizing death.