What damage do plastic bags cause?

Single-use plastic bags are used in extremely high volumes (more than 27 million per year in the City of Napa) and only a small fraction of them are ever recycled. They are produced from nonrenewable resources and are designed to be disposable (rather than reusable). While some single-use plastic bags are reused, many of them are simply used once and then discarded. Once discarded, single-use plastic bags often remain in the environment for decades or longer.


These bags can end up in landfills or be swept away by the wind and get caught in trees, fences, and storm drains. If they are disposed of at all - many end up in the wrong waste bin and jam recycling equipment resulting in work stoppages and loss of efficiency at the waste collection facility. Eventually, plastic bags can find their way to the ocean, where they can do significant damage to wildlife. More and more marine animals are found with plastic bag particles in their digestive systems. Reuseit reports that hundreds of thousands of sea turtles, whales and other marine mammals die every year from eating discarded plastic bags mistaken for food. Plastics can be found all along the food chain: microscopic plastic particles have been found in the tissue of fish.

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1. What is the City of Napa’s definition of a single-use plastic bag?
2. Isn’t there a law that requires me to put alcoholic beverages into a carryout bag?
3. What other communities regulate plastic bags?
4. What damage do plastic bags cause?
5. What about recycling? Isn’t that a better solution?
6. How will I carry my groceries home? I need those free bags.
7. What is the benefit to me? What is the benefit to the community?
8. Why is there a 10-cent fee on recycled paper carryout bags? Is it a tax?
9. What types of retail establishments are required to charge 10 cents for each recycled paper bag?
10. I use plastic bags to pick up my pet’s waste. What will I use instead?
11. Do bag bans really work?