I teach a STEM class at Sabino High School. We have been discussing the sustainability of plastic bags. We debated in class and talked about the chemistry of plastic bags. I wanted my kids, who are mostly 14 years old, to understand the local newspaper is a great way to find out about local issues and one can express opinions by writing letters to the editor.
Here are excerpts from those letters:
We use billions of plastic bags every day. This is having a massive impact on the environment. Thousands of marine animals die each year due to the pollution we have put in their homes. Plastic also kills birds and many other animals. This is all done by humans and we are the only ones that can help fix the problem.
Why should we keep plastic bags in Arizona if they’re not benefiting our environment? There are many other options we could choose other than using plastic bags, such as providing your own cloth bag or using paper bags. Plastic bags are not needed and can be banned to make our environment healthier.
There are 46,000 pieces of plastic in every square mile of the world’s oceans. We use a plastic bag for only 12 minutes on average — are those 12 minutes worth killing thousands of animals? If you’re thinking plastic bags only harm animals, no, they affect humans also. Animals ingest the plastic and then we ingest them, which is extremely harmful.
There is so much more to life than plastic bags that kill our environment and the animals we love. Why ruin the only planet we have a chance to live on with plastic bags, when we could keep our world running long enough for humans to see the future of our universe.
There are many alternatives instead of plastic bags, such as boxes and paper bags. There many places that have already banned plastic bags and their economy is thriving. I know there are many other things harming the environment but we have to start somewhere and this is a good start.
Almost all of the plastic bags we use are going into the ocean and animals are eating them. Plastic bags take forever to decompose. If in the end, the state of Arizona does ban plastic bags, we can use reusable bags or paper bags for all of our groceries.
Plastic may be causing problems right now but we can fix that. It seems like most problems with plastic are caused in California, or areas that have beaches, because trash gets thrown in to the ocean. That is why plastic bags are now banned in California, but Tucson doesn’t have any oceans. Plastic can’t harm anyone or anything here in Tucson.
Plastic bags take 500 to 100 years to decompose and are a big reason marine life is dying. They are mistaken for food, and since you can’t digest a plastic bag, they get stuck in their gut. Plastic bags are not a necessity to life. So next time the cashier asks you if you want a plastic bag, ask yourself if 15 minutes of using it is worth 500 years.
Our world is already heavily polluted thanks to us not taking care of what we are blessed with on this planet. If we do not consider starting small now, with plastic bags, we may be destined with a doomed future. Would you really like that?
There are so many other alternatives we can use instead of plastic bags. Most people are too lazy or do not care enough to bring an extra bag when they grocery shop, which shows that the main issue is that people do not care enough to help our planet out. This also gives the impression to younger generations that it is OK to stop caring and do whatever you want. This is not true and we need to make sure that we help out our planet by getting rid of plastic bags.
My STEM class had a debate on whether we should ban plastic bags or keep them. I found myself in the middle. On one hand we should, due to the fact that animals are getting killed by them; on the other hand I don’t think we should, because how are you going to pick up the dog’s poop? Instead of banning them, we should be more strict on the recycling.
Katriana L. Cline
I strongly believe we should ban plastic bags in Arizona. Most will say that banning plastic should only be for states near oceans because sea life is affected by plastic the most, but the plastic bags we use here could still end up in the ocean. Plastic can travel very far since it’s so lightweight.Hope LittonMost recycling facilities do not have the capacity to recycle plastic bags and thus do not accept them. The actual recycling rate for plastic bags is around 5 percent. The total amount of energy required to drive a car for half a mile is the equivalent energy required to produce nine plastic bags.
Like cigarettes, plastic bags have recently gone from a tolerated nuisance to a widely despised and discouraged vice. Plastic bags bring more bad than good. They cause pollution and kill animals.Darius BullockThe problem isn’t that we have plastic bags but how we use them. They should be recycled and reused but many don’t realize this. Although many people focus on what is negative about plastic bags, I focus on the negatives paper bags may cause. Paper bags take more energy to recycle than plastic bags do, they also take up nine times more space in landfills!
Many people in the United States are talking about banning plastic bags. Yet an estimated 500 billion to one trillion plastic bags are used worldwide every year — 380 billion of those in the U.S. Tucson should not have plastic bags because we are hurting our environment.
Banning plastic bags would result in more production of paper and cotton bags. Paper and cotton produce pollution because of the high amount of chemicals required to make them. Plastic bags have less of a carbon footprint than paper and cotton.
In Ireland, a fee was placed on plastic bags and since 2002 plastic bag usage has decreased by 90 percent. It would greatly help out planet if we could decrease the usage of plastic bags.
Mary Ellen Fitzpatrick
They found a dead whale off the coast of Norway with more than 30 bags in its stomach. Imagine how many whales are eating these plastic bags? If we keep producing as many bags as we are now, there will be more plastic bags than fish in 2050.
I get it, it might be hard for parents. But if you have a heart and feelings and emotions, it won’t be hard at all to ban plastic bags. If you just see some of the sad pictures of these animals and their bodies full of our trash and litter. Let’s be better humans.