The impact from the more than one million plastic bags that pollute our environment every minute – 24/7 – is greatest on marine life. Plastic bags floating in the sea resemble jellyfish, so turtles eat them and die. Fish, as well as birds, become entangled in plastic refuse and choke to death. Plastic waste isn’t biodegradable; it takes an estimated 1,000 years for the polyethene in plastic bags to completely biodegrade.
Meanwhile, the environmental impact of using paper bags instead of plastic is nearly as bad. Although paper bags are biodegradable, about 80% percent end up in landfill where the lack of oxygen prevents them from biodegrading. Furthermore, the environment loses 14 million trees for the 10 billion paper bags used in the U.S. each year – trees that are essential for removing CO2 gases and replenishing our air with oxygen.