More Myths about Plastic Bags: Debunked

Myth #5: “It Takes Around 1,000 Years for Plastic Bags to Decompose in Landfills”

Almost nothing (food, paper, plastic, etc) decomposes in today’s landfills. That’s because all these products are actually designed to be as dry and stable as possible. According to a research by William Rathje, who is the owner of the Garbage Project, newspapers can be readable and intact even after years in a landfill.

Myth #6: “The Demand for Recycled Plastic is Close to None”

If it were 15 to 20 years ago, this statement would have been somewhat true. However, today, there is a growing market for recycled plastic. It’s significantly cheaper to use recycled plastic than obtaining new materials, which encourages the recycling of plastic bags.

Apart from that, recycled plastic bags are also increasingly being used to make new plastic bags, railing and outdoor decking products, as well as several other items, further increasing the demand for recycled plastic.

Myth #7: “Plastic Bag Bans are on the Rise, Throughout the Country”

Not really. As a matter of fact, plastic bags have not been banned in any State. In San Francisco, the government is encouraging consumers to use compostable plastic bags, rather than recyclable bags. On the other hand, in several States, there is a growing movement to increase the access to plastic bag recycling, not to eliminate them.

Cities in California, New Jersey, and Connecticut are only banning certain types of plastic and planning to implement plastic bag recycling programs, in order to increase awareness as well as recycling rates.

Myth #8: “It’s Extremely Expensive to Recycle Plastic Bags”

The price of NOT recycling plastic bags is high! Through recycling, valuable resources can be saved and the amount of waste ending up in landfills can be reduced significantly.

It also helps in the reduction of litter, as plastic bags are stored for further processing. It’s also worth mentioning that recycling a pound of plastic takes 91% less energy as compared to a pound of paper.

Myth #9: “For People Living near Water, Marine Life Can be protected by Only Using Paper Bags”

The production of paper bags has a significantly higher contribution towards water and air emissions and solid waste as compared to plastic bags. Therefore, using them is definitely not the solution. To ensure there is no threat to the environment, as well as wildlife, people have to make it a habit to recycle and dispose all kinds of products properly.

Myth #10: “Plastic Bags are Killing Marine Life”

As mentioned earlier in this eBook, this is a myth, which originated from a 2002 study about plastic bags that was commissioned by the government of Australia.

The authors of the report misquoted a 1987 Canadian study, which mistakenly attributed the vast number of marine animal deaths to plastic bags, when it was actually due to discarded fishing nets, ropes and lines.