By now, it should come as no surprise that plastic shopping bags are terrible for the world's ecosystems, and that the convenience is not worth the toll that these bags take on animal life in oceans and waterways. Worldwide, about one trillion plastic bags are used annually, including the 380 billion bags that U.S. shoppers carry out of stores every year. In addition to the millions of dollars spent on cleaning up, 12 million barrels of oil are required in order to create the bags used in the United States alone. Only about 5 percent of all plastic bags are recycled, and most of the plastic created on Earth still exists. Mistakenly believing it to be food, fish and turtles often eat discarded plastic and choke to death.
- Plastic garbage can collect water and become a breeding site for mosquitoes and other unwanted pests.
- The cost of cleaning up plastic pollution is also mounting. An urban community can easily spend $1 million USD a year collecting thoughtlessly-discarded plastic.
- In 2018, the Kroger supermarket chain announced that it will phase out single-use bags from its 2,700 stores by 2025. California has already banned their use at all grocery stores and large retail stores.