Plastic bags are bad for the environment. They're made from oil and natural gas, which means that it takes a lot of energy to make them. And when you throw them away, they end up in landfills where they will take hundreds of years to biodegrade. What happened to biodegradable plastic bags?
The debate over plastic bags has raged for years. The plastic shopping bag has been vilified as a menace to the environment, but also celebrated as an eco-friendly alternative to paper and reusable totes. So what's the truth? Are plastic bags really so bad?
In short: yes!
Disposable plastic bags are made from petrochemicals and take up enormous amounts of space in landfills, where they take thousands of years to decompose. They're also harmful to wildlife; many animals eat them or get trapped inside them with fatal consequences. A recent study found that over 1 million seabirds die each year after ingesting plastic debris—and this number is increasing by 5 percent every decade!
Plastic bags are bad for the environment.
Plastic bags are bad for the ocean.
Plastic bags are bad for wildlife.
Plastic bags can take hundreds of years to decompose, and they don't break down easily when they do.
One of the biggest problems with plastic bags is that they don't biodegrade. That means that when you throw them away, they'll just sit in landfills for a really long time - up to 1,000 years!
Plastic bags are not recyclable either; they can't be mixed with other materials and turned into new products. So if you try to throw your plastic bag in the recycling bin, it'll get thrown out again by those who have to sort through all those items.
Finally, even if you do manage to compost your bag, it won't actually break down like paper would—it’ll still take up space in your compost bin and end up being sent off as waste to landfills and incinerators anyway!
Plastic bags are made from crude oil and natural gas, two nonrenewable energy sources. Crude oil is a mixture of liquid hydrocarbons that can be refined into petrol and fuel oils. Natural gas is methane found in the earth’s crust, often trapped in underground rock layers or beneath oceans.
In order to make plastic bags, we need to turn these raw materials into polymers—long chains of molecules with repeating units. Both crude oil and natural gas are composed of hydrocarbons that can be broken down into their component parts: hydrogen and carbon atoms linked together by single bonds (think H2). When heated up under high pressure, these hydrocarbons can be chemically altered so they form long chains with repeating units—the same kind of polymer you see in plastic bags!
Plastics have a variety of negative impacts on the environment. They are not biodegradable, and take a long time to break down. In addition, plastics are made from oil and natural gas—resources that are becoming increasingly scarce. In fact, many people think that one reason why plastic bags have become so popular is because they are made from petroleum (a nonrenewable resource). Plastics can be found in many different industries as well as in consumer products such as clothing and food packaging; these materials take up room in landfills where they can leach toxic chemicals into soil and groundwater over time.
Plastic bags aren't recycled today because it's cheap for companies to make new ones!
Biodegradable plastic bags are not entirely biodegradable and not necessarily better for the environment than regular plastic bags. You might be asking yourself, "Shouldn't biodegradable plastics be less harmful to the environment?" In a perfect world that would be true, but these materials don't always break down completely and can sometimes release toxic chemicals into the soil or water. Biodegradable plastics are also more expensive than traditional plastic bags, so they'll cost you more money in the long run.
You might have heard that plastic bags are bad for the environment. In fact, they’re one of the most common forms of litter on our planet. This is because once they break down, plastic bags release toxic chemicals into the oceans and landfills where they can harm animals and birds.
Prior to banning them entirely in 2016, California passed a law requiring grocery stores to charge 10 cents per bag (California was also the first state to ban single-use plastic bags). The goal was to encourage people to bring their own reusable cloth or paper bags instead of using disposable ones—but it didn’t work very well because people just kept buying new plastic bags at other stores!
In an effort to reduce this harmful impact on our environment, many governments around the world are now considering bans on biodegradable plastics like biodegradable shopping bags and food packaging materials as well as regular ones like straws made from petroleum products like polyethylene terephthalate (PET).
Biodegradable plastic bags are a simple solution to the problem of plastic bags, but they’re not perfect. They still use fossil fuels and can take years to break down in landfills. The best option is to use reusable bags whenever possible. If you do have to use a disposable bag, make sure it’s made from recycled materials so that it doesn’t end up in the ocean or other bodies of water where fish and other marine life needlessly die from consuming them as food sources.