Plastic Is Not Fantastic

Posted: by Moyra Burke-Smith

OK this issue I am going to get on my high horse about plastic bags without apology. We are all guilty of using plastic bags and no matter how often we reuse them there is simply no excuse good enough to continue to use them when we know the damage they cause to our world.

Shoppers worldwide are using approximately 500 billion single-use plastic bags per year.

This translates to about a million bags every minute across the globe, or 150 bags a year for every person on earth. And the number is rising. The facts are staggering:

• 100,000 marine creatures a year die from plastic entanglement (these are the ones found) • Approximately 1 million sea birds also die from plastic • A single plastic bag can kill numerous animals because they take so long to disintegrate • An animal that dies from the bag decomposes and the bag is released to be eaten again by some other victim

• Bangladesh floods in 1988 & 1998 were made more severe because plastic bags clogged drains. The government has now banned plastic bags

• Ireland introduced a 15c plastic bag tax and reduced usage by 90% in one year

• It can take 20-1000 years for a plastic bag to break up. When they do the microscopic pieces still get ingested by marine life so plastic becomes part of our food chain In Australia

• Australia alone uses 6.9 billion plastic bags a year of which 3.6 billion are plastic shopping bags

• If you tied 6.9 billion plastic bags together end on end they would travel around the world 42.5 times

• Australians dump 36,700 tonnes of plastic bags into our landfill every year. That equates to 4,000 bags a minute or 230,000 per hour

• Only 10% of Australians take their plastic bags for recycling

• It costs the Australian government in excess of $4 million to clean up plastic bag litter each year • If each Australian family used 1 less plastic bag each week that would be 253 million bags less a year

• Less than 1% of plastic bags in Australia are reused

• If you imagine a piece of plastic 1m wide. As a conservative guestimate, a length of this plastic 40km long is produced each day and this is for one brand of toilet paper packaging. For bread you can triple the length (120km long)

Being Part of the Solution is Good For Business

There are so many cost effective options for businesses; from natural Jute, Calico and Bamboo bags to non woven tote bags and dura paper. In a region of such natural beauty, both land and marine, you can show that you care and your customers will reward you for it. Let’s ban plastic bags in the Northern Rivers.

To be part of the solution call 0429850011 or email:

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