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One environmental problem caused by our excessive use of plastic bags is that they are not biodegradable and therefore just fills the landfills and oceans with plastic waste (Turk & Bensel, 2014, Ch. 9.4). When the plastic bags get into the oceans, they can gather into large masses when can harm and kill ocean wildlife (Santarpio, 2012, p. 98). Another problem that is caused by the excessive use of plastic bags is that the large majority of plastic bags are made using petroleum and natural gas, and it takes about 12 million barrels of oil to make about 12 billion plastic bags. When these bags are transported carbon dioxide emissions are released into the air, which ultimately raise the amount of pollution in the air (Warner, 2012, p. 649).
If I were in charge and were trying to devise a plan to reduce or eliminate the use of plastic bags, I would research what recycled bags could be used for. By knowing what good could come out recycling the bags, I could encourage people to recycle them instead of throwing them away. I would also propose that people have a limit on how many plastic bags they can get each trip to the store. An example would be that each person who shops at Wal-Mart can only have 5 plastic bags per trip and the customer would have to bring their own bags or purchase canvas bags. By limiting the number of plastic bags stores and people can use, this would eliminate the amount being produced and the amount thrown away. By implementing my plan, people will help the environment by using and pitching less, but if we do nothing the financial impact will be much higher. We will end up paying more for the non-renewable resources used to make the plastic bags.