Main article photo by Fran Crowe via Turtle Bags
On Monday 5th October 2015 carrier bag charging began in England, similar to the charging already in place in Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland.
Last year in the UK 7.46 billion plastic bags were handed out by supermarkets (BBC), 200 million more than in 2013. Had bag charges not been introduced these figures would continue to grow exponentially.
Without doubt we are becoming more aware of the waste we leave behind, but it's still fair to say that the charges have been received with a mixed reaction. So if anyone needs more convincing consider some of these images and facts behind the #reusebags campaign.
The shocking story behind this photo is that almost half of the critically endangered Greater Adjutant storks live on landfill. Garbage has overtaken their natural habitat so they wait patiently to scavenge at a landfill near Guwahati in India. Photo by Sandesh Kadur
Based on a study of over 370 autopsies, one in three Leatherback sea turtles have plastic in their stomach, most often a plastic bag. Turtles confuse plastic bags for their staple diet of Jelly Fish.
Plastic bags can take up to a 100 years to disintegrate completely. This landfill example at Monterey Marina captures the enormity of the problem. PHOTO BY JEFFLINDENTHALL
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch. A swirling mass of debris large enough for a shipwrecked sailor to survive three years on.
It’s estimated that 5 to 12m tonnes of plastics enter our ocean every year. This is on top of the 100 to 150m tonnes already there. To put this in context it's estimated that in the next decade our oceans will hold about one kilogram of plastic for every three kilograms of fish which is why there is a growing concern that toxic plastic waste is entering our food chain.
As inconvenient as this new legislation may be at times, the fact is you can easily survive without plastic shopping bags. It just requires a little forethought and there are plenty of fabulous alternatives, such as these cool shoppers or how about a bit of up-cycling - such as these 'Make Do & Mend-able' ideas.
Please take a few minutes to digest this recent BBC podcast about The Life Cycle Of A plastic Bag. If this doesn’t jog our memory to remember our bags I’m not sure what will.