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December 06, 2004

The Bag Beast

Environmentally Speaking by Michael Jessen

They're cheap, functional, lightweight, resource efficient, moisture resistant � and too popular! The seemingly innocuous plastic bag is under attack around the world as countries from Ireland to Australia seek to tax or ban them.

Relied on by consumers to do everything from carrying groceries to scooping up doggie do and disposing of garbage, plastic bag use has mushroomed in North America and Western Europe. Factories churned out an astounding four to five trillion of them in 2002, ranging from large trash bags to thick shopping totes to flimsy grocery sacks.

"Every time we use a new plastic bag they go and get more petroleum from the Middle East and bring it over in tankers," says Stephanie Barger, ERF's executive director. "We are extracting and destroying the Earth to use a plastic bag for 10 minutes."

Link: The Bag Beast.


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