Step 1: The Plastic Bag

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The VERY FIRST STEP to leading a more harmonious life is to say NO to plastic. And the most visible face of plastic is the ubiquitous Plastic Bag.

At the international level, the United Nations environmental chief has urged a ban on plastic bags.“Single-use plastic bags, which choke marine life, should be banned or phased out rapidly everywhere. There is simply zero justification for manufacturing them anymore, anywhere,” said Achim Steiner, executive director of the UN Environment Program, which advises member states on environmental policies. Steiner made his statement with the release of a UN report identifying plastic as the “most prevalent component of marine debris” and a hazard “because it persists so long in the ocean, degrading into tinier and tinier bits that can be consumed by the smallest marine life at the base of the food web.”

About .6 percent of plastic bags in the United States are recycled, meaning about 100 billion bags are thrown away — as litter or to be landfilled or burned, according to the Worldwatch Institute, an environmental think tank. And this is just in the US- forget worldwide! In the landfill, the bags take about 500-1,000 years to break down.

Gasp!

So, what do you do? Actually, this is the simplest change to make and the one which can have the most impact. Every time you go shopping, take a cloth or reusable bag with you. There are a variety of alternatives! Below you can see a foldable cloth bag (green); a cotton cloth bag (white) and a supermarket reinforced bag (blue). For heavier shops, why not invest in a shopping trolley?

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I usually have one of the foldable ones in my handbag at all times, for that sudden shop that hits you when you aren’t looking. This is doable, isn’t it?

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