Target: Environmental Protection Agency Administrator, Lisa P. Jackson
Goal: Encourage plastic bag bans and paper bag taxes when reusable bags are not present
Approximately 380 billion plastic bags are used in the United States each year, which breaks down to more than 1,200 bags per U.S. resident. Unfortunately, of those huge numbers, only 1 to 2% of plastic bags are recycled. America’s dependence on plastic bags is negatively affecting our health, environment, sustainability, and economics. Please sign this petition to support banning plastic bags and enforce a 5 cent bag tax if patrons forget their reusable shopping bags.
Americans use plastic bags at an alarming rate and it is costing us more than just dollars. The Film and Bag Federation says U.S. retailers spend $4 billion a year on plastic bags, a charge that is passed onto consumers through higher prices. Californians Against Waste estimate over 100,000 marine turtles and mammals are killed every year by plastic bag debris. Sadly, most bags are not recycled and many that are likely end up in our trees and rivers due to their lightweight material. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says plastic bags can take 1,000 years to decompose, thus permanently taking up space in landfills. Plastic bags are made from polymer and polymer resin which require oil or natural gas to produce. Twelve million gallons of oil are used in the process of making 100 billion plastic bags. By looking at the average number of plastic bags used in a year, one can see how much oil is required to keep the plastic bag epidemic going.
Obviously, plastic bags are straining our resources, and for what? Reusable bags are everywhere you look and available in different sizes, structures, colors, and designs. Portland, Seattle, and Austin have enacted bans, while the whole country of Ireland saw a 95% decrease in plastic bag usage after it imposed its ban. A 5 cent tax is a small price to pay for forgetting your environmentally friendly sack and the tax would fund environmental clean-up, animal preservation, and other issues that fall in line with the intent of the ban.
Please sign this petition and remember that a ban does not have to be in place to cut down on your plastic bag dependency.
Dear Ms. Jackson,
The average American uses 1,200 plastic bags each year and only 1 to 2% of the nation’s total are recycled. Lack of recycling coupled with a heavy dependence on plastic bags has resulted in environmental and economic issues for us and our ecosystems. Many cities and some countries have banned plastic bags in retail forcing consumers to use reusable bags. If a consumer forgets their environmentally friendly sack, they are taxed 5 cents per bag. Please urge state officials to enact these bans in an effort to collectively cut down on the negative repercussions of plastic bag dependence.
Many trashed plastic bags find their way into our ecosystems where they can choke and trap wildlife, wrap around ship propellers, and get sucked into boat engines. Californians Against Waste estimate that plastic marine debris alone kills over 100,000 marine turtles and mammals every year. Bags that do end up in landfills permanently take up space and are not able to biodegrade due to lack of sunlight, water, and oxygen. Plastic bags are made of polymer and polymer resin which require 12 million gallons of oil to make 100 billion plastic bags. By looking at America’s total number of bags used each year, it is easy to see how these are contributing to the depletion of our oil resources.
There is no reason to continue supporting the plastic bag epidemic. Reusable bags are available everywhere and a 5 cent tax per bag when a patron has forgotten their sack is a small price to pay. Please urge states to adopt these bans in an effort to reduce our negative impact on the environment.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Bag Monster by flickr