S.O.S – Save Our Sealife

Plastic is one of the biggest silent killers of our wildlife – particularly our marine life.

More than 1 billion single-use plastic bags are given out free of chargeĀ every day around the world. As you know, plastic bags are NOT biodegradable. They do breakdown though, but in doing so, they release toxic additives including flame retardants and plasticisers into the environment. What does this have to do with our wildlife though?

Well, these chemicals pollute and disrupt the endocrine system of animals.

What’s even worse though is marine life in particular are hit the hardest by plastic bag waste. Plastic bags are so lightweight, that if they’re not disposed of correctly, they can be carried by the wind through different parts of our ecosystem. Most end up in the water, where marine animals often mistake them for food. Over 100 000 animals die within Australia alone because of this. Turtles, dolphins, whales and albatross are the most susceptible to death by choking on plastic bags. What’s so upsetting is that there is approximately 46 000 pieces of plastic floating every square mile of the ocean.

So the next time you’re in a position where you could refuse the use of a plastic bag, please keep this in mind. Even if you don’t know it, the plastic bag you are using could end up killing a member of our wildlife. Opt out of the plastic, go the reusable and #totewise

If you’re interested in helping out the wildlife, Animals Australia and Lush Cosmetics have joined up to create a ‘Say NO to Plastic Bags!’ campaign and petition in support of our animals. We’ve signed it. Have you?

Photo credit: Ron Prendergast, Melbourne Zoo

Photo Credit: How green is your bag Termata the Whale who died in 2007 after a giant rescue team across Roratonga in the Cook Island were unable to save her after she choked on a single white plastic bag.

Plastic bags or Paper bags?

Image: Green Retreat Org

The answer is neither.

Many people are under the impression that replacing the use of plastic bags with paper bags is doing the environment a favour, but when we take a closer look it’s actually not the case.

Here’s some reasons why using paper bags is not a better alternative:

  • In the US alone, over 14 million trees are cut down to fulfil the demand for the production of paper bags
  • Paper bagsĀ cause pollution when they’re produced. In fact they emit 70% more air pollution and 50% more water pollution than the production of plastic bags
  • Paper bag production also consumes a great amount of energy and fuel – four times as much as plastic bag production to be precise
  • Paper also doesn’t biodegrade that much faster than plastic and despite their high recyclability factor, only 20% of paper bags are recycled

Want to know more about the truth behind paper bags? Here’s a great TED talk on the topic

Right about now you’re probably wandering what the solution is, whether there’s even any option left. After all, you thought reducing your plastic foot print by opting for paper bags was helping didn’t you? Never fear, all hope is not lost.

Here’s where the humble reusable canvas tote bags come in. Just looking at the information above proves that there’s no better option than to go reusable! If you need further convincing though…

  • The average reusable bag has a lifespan that beats over seven hundred single-use plastic bags
  • If just one person uses a reusable bag for their whole life, they’re avoiding the use of 22 000 plastic bags in total alone
  • You’re becoming a part of the solution when you prove that there’s little need and demand for plastic or paper bags!

So come on, what are you waiting for. Tote simple, totewise.

Were you surprised by these facts about paper bags? Share with us some of your experiences in using different forms of bags and which one you think worked best holistically.