The end of plastic bags in Denver?

Denver may be joining many other cities in the United States and countries around the world that have a ban on plastic bags and other plastic trash. According to an article published in Denverite, the President of the Denver City Council is looking in to not only banning plastic bags, but straws and utensils as well.

Plastic trash in Denver

According to the article, Denver threw away more than 7,000 tons of plastic film, bags, and wrap in 2017 and the vast majority of that trash was bags. This does not account for other plastic waste such as utensils, plates, water bottles, etc.

The plastic problem can be seen and felt all over Denver. Plastic bags are seen floating in the air on highways, stuck to trees in neighborhoods, and even in the rivers and lakes around the Denver Metro Area. Earlier in 2018 volunteers from Environment Colorado cleaned up the areas in and around the South Platte in an effort to get rid of trash that can be harmful to wildlife.  The amount of trash they collected was startling.

The problem with plastic bags

Think about the last time you went to the grocery store. After you checked out, how many plastic bags did you end up with in your cart? 5? 10? And what did you do with those plastic bags after you brought your items inside? More likely than not they were thrown away.

According to Conserving Now, each minute of the day 1 million plastic bags are consumed around the world. That adds up to be about 1 trillion plastic bags that are used each year. That is a massive amount of plastic trash and pollution that is leading to many unintended and devastating consequences. Often times these bags find their way to the ocean where they can be degraded in to small pieces of plastic called micro-plastics. Turtles, sea birds, whales, and other marine life mistake these microplastics for food.  It is not becoming evident that marine animals from all around the world are literally starving to death because their gut is so full of plastic waste that cannot be digested. It’s not only marine animals, a small, international study found that humans have microplastic in their gut as well. It is not yet known how this may affect human health.

Reducing your trash

It may seem like trying to reduce the amount of plastic you use seems pointless as this is a world-wide epidemic, but anything one person does can help. Here are 5 ways you can start reducing or stopping plastic pollution everyday:

  1. Use reusable bags
    1. Reusable bags can be purchased for an affordable price at nearly every supermarket. One bag can replace hundreds of plastic bags over its lifetime. Plus, you can fit way more into a reusable bag!
  2. Stop using plastic water bottles
    1. While plastic water bottles may be convenient, they are a huge culprit in the plastic pollution problem. Instead, opt for a reusable water bottle!
  3. Get rid of plastic plates, utensils, cups, etc…
    1. It is so easy to use plates that can be thrown away after one use because there is literally no clean up. However, those plastic plates, cups, and utensils can pile up quickly in the landfills and even find their way to the ocean. Instead, invest in good quality dinnerware and take an extra one minute to wash your plates.
  4. No more straws!
    1. Like plastic bags, many cities are taking the plastic ban one step further and banning plastic straws. Billions of straws are thrown away each year after just one use. Once again, these straws can end up in the oceans and cause a lot of harm to marine animals. Don’t’ believe that? Watch this video.
  5. Invest in reusable produce bags
    1. In the produce area of many supermarkets you will find those thin, long, plastic bags for produce items. Essentially what that means is that you will end up putting that produce plastic bag in to another plastic bag during check out. Depending on how much produce you purchase, this could double the number of plastic bags you consume. Instead, consider purchasing reusable bags that are specifically meant for produce.

Although it is easy to make small changes to reduce the plastic pollution in your life, there are times when you have no choice but to get rid of trash. At Affordable Roll-Offs we believe in environmentally responsible disposal. Even though we do our best to meet and exceed our customers waste removal needs, due to EPA guidelines, there are particular types of waste we cannot accept. Not only is it the right thing to do, but we believe it’s our duty to be environmentally responsible.