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Why Should You Get Rid of the Plastic Bag?

Jun 30, 2023 | Contamination

Because you asked us…

Why Should You Lose That Plastic Bag?

 “The average American family takes home almost 1,500 plastic shopping bags a year” (NRDC)

  • According to the WorldWatch Institute, around 4-5 trillion plastic bags were created in 2002.
  • According to a report in 2004, roughly 80 percent of those bags were used in North America and Western Europe. Every year, Americans reportedly throw away 100 billion plastic grocery bags. (WorldWatch Institute)
  • Approximately only 1-3% of plastic bags are recycled every year.
  • Millions of dollars per state are spent to properly recycle or dispose of plastic bags. (ecowatch)
  • And in general, we only recycle 50% of the plastics we use. (ecowatch)
  • Millions of barrels of oil are used to produce plastic each year in the United States alone. (EPA)
  • The average family accumulates 60 plastic bags in only four trips to the grocery store.
  • Plastic bags currently dominate commercial package markets. (National Geographic)
  • The majority of the plastic bags from petroleum are not bio-degradable and take around 700-1000 years to just break down. (World Counts)

Paper Bags:

  • Paper bags are able to decompose in a landfill.
  • Papers bags take more energy to produce than it takes to produce plastic bags.
  • Americans use around 10 billion paper bags each year, which is equal to cutting 14 million trees each year. (Earth911)
  • It cost more to produce paper bags than it takes to produce plastic bags.
  • The recovery rate for paper bags and sacks is around 50%. (EPA)

Tote Bags/Recyclable Bags:

  • We use an estimated 4 trillion plastic bags per year globally. (https://www.earthday.org/)
  • The total distribution of Tote bags has been steadily increasing.
  • By using a tote bag, it is possible to save spaces that would have been occupied by thin plastic bags instead.


  1. John Friend

    why do we have to plastic bag our yard waste- seems silly to put compostable material in a plastic bag. Other state have a yard waste container to put yard waste in for pick up- NOT PLASTIC BAGS- Seems silly to use plastic

    • Steve Tharp

      Hi, John. I am not sure why you would have to do that either. Who is requiring that? In our yard waste program, all you have to do is bring your yard waste however you wish to transport it and dump the yard waste. We don’t require plastic bags at all.


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