What Kind of Impact Do Bag Bans Have on the Environment?

What Kind of Impact Do Bag Bans Have on the Environment?

At Lakeshore Recycling Systems, we know first-hand that there’s a lot of recyclable material out there. Sometimes it can be challenging to deal with all of it in the most sustainable way, which is why some areas experiment with plastic bag bans. When you go to the grocery store in some cities, you need to bring your own reusable bags with you. Here’s a roundup of some of the environmental impacts a bag ban could have.

Minimizes Trash Found in Rivers, Lakes and Oceans

When plastic bags are banned or taxed, the usage of plastic bags correspondingly declines. When that happens, the amount of bags around the environment can also drop dramatically. Many plastic bags tend to end up in rivers and other bodies of water, so a plastic bag ban could be beneficial for the environment by reducing the number of bags found in bodies of water. In oceans, plastic bags are generally one of the most prevalent types of trash found by cleanup crews.

Impact on Landfills

While plastic bags can be recycled, many of them just end up in a landfill. At Lakeshore Recycling Systems we have a “zero landfill” goal, so this is especially distressing to us. By banning bags or charging for them, a community could reduce the number of plastic bags in landfills. This is clearly a step in the right direction and better for the environment.

When plastic bags pile up in landfills, they cause a number of problems. Plastic bags can take years to decompose. Then, unfortunately, they release toxins into the soil and water as they actually start biodegrading. Obviously, plastic bags serve a useful purpose, but they have significant detrimental effects on the environment if they are not recycled properly.

Less Harm to Animals

One aspect of plastic bag pollution that isn’t always referenced, is the adverse effects they can have on animals. As we mentioned previously, many bags can end up in rivers, lakes and oceans. This is potentially harmful for birds and marine animals that could end up eating them or getting tangled in them and drowning. Some animals may not be harmed by plastic bags right away, but they could develop serious digestive problems due to their ingestion of plastic.

Plastic bags that end up in wooded areas could also have negative effects on the animal population there. Animals in forests or parks could also end up trying to eat plastic bags. This can have potentially devastating effects on the impacted animal. A plastic bag ban could significantly reduce the likelihood of these occurrences from happening.

Reduces Use of Fossil Fuels

Banning plastic bags will actually reduce the amount of fossil fuels consumed. That’s because plastic bags are manufactured using petroleum. In addition, fossil fuels are also used to run the machines that manufacture plastic bags. So, banning plastic bags and switching to more eco-friendly sources could have a bigger environmental impact than most people realize.

If you’re looking for ways to reduce your environmental impact, contact the eco waste and recycling experts at Lakeshore Recycling Systems today. We help businesses and homeowners with all of their recycling needs. We provide recycling services, portable restrooms, roll-off dumpsters, street sweepers, mulch and many other services. Contact us today to find out how we can help you with your Chicago recycling projects.

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