Your Green Life: "Man Made Invasive!"

By KBJR News 1

May 1, 2014 Updated May 1, 2014 at 8:12 AM CDT

Duluth, MN
Humans have created a new kind of invasive, the plastic bag.
First introduced about 30–years ago, they have become a staple in our culture.

Brett Amundson, Director of Operations at Hartley Nature Center told me, "The statistics say that about a trillion plastic bags are used a year and only about 5–percent of those are recycled."

According to the Wall Street Journal, about one–hundred–billion plastic bags are dispensed in the US every year. Most of those are thrown into a landfill or worse, blight in the environment.

"People see them everywhere, they see them in trees, they see them in bushes, but the biggest problem is when they get broken down into pieces into the water system and then they just collect in little pools and pockets and fish ingest it, ducks ingest it a lot of animals will ingest it." Amundson says.

So how can we wean ourselves off the habitual use and ceaseless petroleum product waste?

"You can actually recycle your old plastic bags. Most stores actually have a receptacle like this one," as I show, "that you can drop off all your used bags to be sent to recycling. But, the most important way to reduce the amount of plastic bags is to use something you can reuse."

SuperOne in west Duluth offers different varieties of reusable bags and since the introduction of these green bags, store managers say, plastic bag use has almost been cut in half.

"Its something that we have the power to eliminate. Its not going to cost us anything, and the stores certainly would benefit as well by not having that cost. If everyone were to bring boxes or bags something that was reusable and recyclable in the end." says Amundson.

There are eight countries that have banned or put extra taxes on plastic bags. According to BBC News, Bangladesh banished plastic bags after being found to be responsible for the 1988 and 1998 floods that submerged most of the country.

Meteorologist Adam Lorch