Recycling and Plastic Bag

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Millions of plastic bags are given out to consumers by supermarkets and stores to carry their goods in. They are also cheap, light, durable, easy to carry and in many cases, free. The most commonly used shopping bag is made of High Density Polyethylene (HDPE). This type is used in the majority of supermarkets and stores. After these bags are used, they often end up in landfills or as litter, roughly only three percent of plastic bags is actually recycled per year (Planet Ark, 2011). The materials used in making plastic bags make them non-biodegradable. According to the science dictionary, 2011 refers to “these materials cannot be decomposed into environmentally safe waste materials by the action of soil bacteria.” These harmful substances are toxic and take approximately four hundred years to break down, or in this case photo-degrade; which is how plastics made from (HDPE) break down. Since they are not biodegradable, they remain in the environment and are absorbed in soil or water (Indian Centre for Plastics in the Environment, 2010). This essay will discuss the various harmful effects of plastic bags, and demonstrate the risks that these bags impose on humans, animals and the environment. It will also discuss a series of suggested solutions that could help reduce plastic bag usage. Although plastic bags appear to be fragile and light, their negative environmental effect is devastating. Plastic bags may cause large amounts of pollution in every step of their limited life cycle, from the extraction of raw materials, production, transportation, and recycling or disposal. Plastic bags can be defined as the most damaging form of environmental pollution. They can have a damaging effect on marine animals and wildlife in addition to the aesthetic effects on beaches, parks, and trees. Plastic bags are potentially one of the main causes of death to marine animals (Harbor keepers,2008). Up to one hundred thousand marine animals or more die each year from eating plastic...
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