Are you ready to go plastic bag free for the oceans?

Next Thursday, July 3, is International Bag Free Day, part of the Bag Free World initiative which is seeking to eliminate single-use plastic bags.

EIA, as part of our work to tackle the issue of marine debris and its negative impacts on ocean environments, is asking people not just to go plastic bag free for a day, but to do so for life.

To that end, our film unit has produced this short campaign film to help spread the message:

Worldwide, approximately 500 billion plastic bags are used every year, almost one million every minute.

Despite their significant environmental impact, single-use plastic bags have become a free convenience product.

On average, a plastic bag is used for just 12 minutes before being discarded. Once in the marine environment, plastic does not biodegrade – it entangles and is eaten by seabirds, whales, dolphins, turtles, fish and other creatures, causing suffering, injury and death.

Plastic bags are the third most common type of litter found on European beaches, lakes and rivers, with more than eight billion ending up as litter across the EU every year. All for the sake of 12 minutes of convenience.

Each piece of plastic will persist for hundreds of years before eventually breaking down into microplastics, tiny fragments which absorb toxins and make their way into the marine food chain. In some areas there are now more pieces of plastic in the sea than plankton.

“EIA is working to achieve ambitious reform of EU legislation that will result in significant reductions in quantities of plastic waste, but tackling the plague of plastic bags is a battle in which we can all play a part, starting right now,” said EIA Cetaceans Campaign Assistant Sarah Baulch.

“All that’s needed is a simple change of behaviour. The solution is not to switch to another type of single-use bag but to change our habits and remember to take a reusable bag whenever we head to the shops.

“It’s up to all of us to make the choice to break our plastic bag habit and make every day a plastic bag free day.”