We all know that plastic bags mostly serve as “use-and-throw” and no one bothers about these bags once they have served their purpose. However, what is discarded after a single use simply refuses to vanish and is painfully persistent in its existence, which is the crux of the problem today.

Plastic Bags Need to Be Abandoned

No one probably stopped to think or realize that a cheap plastic bag can outlive humans, not just a single human being, but several generations. Yes, it is a fact that a plastic bag can last for over a thousand years until it vanishes from the face of the earth forever. However, the damage it can cause in that period is incalculable. Do we need any better reason to abandon these bags, in spite of them being absurdly cheap and indispensably useful, or at least that is what we've believed all along.

Ask any environmentalist or nature lover like Saima Anjam of Environmental Advocates of New York and you'll understand the pressing need to find alternatives to plastic bags. The group, on its part is entreating Governor Andrew Cuomo to do something like imposing a fee on retailers to curb the use, which, not surprisingly is a $10-billion per year business for its manufacturers. This could probably be one reason why the problem is not being addressed the way it should.

The solution probably lies in stricter governance and the need to educate people on the hazards of plastic. Either follow Washington DC's example and levy a 5 cent charge on plastic bags, which should curb the usage considerably, or impose an outright ban that would encourage the use of better alternatives like wholesale reusable bags. Whatever needs to be done needs to be done now, before it is too late.

Small Steps Towards Getting Rid of Plastic Bags

Anjam's argument seems to make a lot of sense. If retailers can spend billions of dollars on plastic bags, why not prevail upon them to switch to wholesale reusable bags that may cost slightly more, but will probably be the only way to do away with plastic bags once and for all? However, until this happens, shoppers can be educated on how they can help with recycling plastic bags sensibly, which would help prevent littering and clogged drains and sewers. Plastic bags can be taken back to any grocery store in New York State to be recycled.

Source: http://wamc.org/post/what-do-about-plastic-grocery-bags