“We Have Created A Plastic Problem”

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Plastic Bag Ban

2016 IS QUICKLY APPROACHING, and with it a new vote on the California Plastic bag ban. This ban had already been passed in 2014. However a recent increase in plastic bag supporters, specifically those in the industry of making plastic bags, have procured enough signatures across the state to put the ban to a referendum. The new vote will be held in November of 2016.

We have heard it again and again, our plastic bags are polluting the environment. That fact is nothing new. However, many people fail to stop and think about the monetary factor of the problem. Americans throw away over 100 billion single use plastic bags in a year. In order to make these 100 billion bags, manufacturers use more than 12 million barrels of oil in a year. At the beginning of November, crude oil cost about $48 per barrel. That means that it costs the United States more than 567 million dollars to create plastic bags last year. That excludes labor and other materials.

We have created a plastic problem. Now what? I’m sure you have heard of organizations and other groups of volunteers going out to clean up after us and our dirty habits, but have you ever thought about how much that costs? According to Doug Woodring, founder of Ocean Recovery Alliance, 500 million dollars were spent on coastline removal of plastic waste on the west coast of the United States alone.

The cost of keeping plastic bags in our environment is much greater than the money spent on making them. The continued distribution of single use plastic bags will prove to be a sure way to negatively impact our planet, as well as our nation’s economy.

By Eli Bjorklund

November 17, 2015

This blog post was written by Eli Bjorklund, a student of Mr Andrew’s Scotts Valley High School environmental science class, and submitted to the Press Banner to build awareness around SB270 and the importance of banning plastic bag use in coastal communities. Eli’s entry was chosen as one of the winning Press Banner articles.

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