Oil & Plastic

Who’s to blame for increases in oil prices?

Americans use an average 100 billion plastic bags per year and it takes 12 billion barrels of oil to produce them. You hear people complain about the prices of oil and you immediately assume it is because of the war and societal issues that are country is currently facing. However, oil is used in the production of plastic bags. It is easy for consumers to point the finger and the government and blame them for increased oil prices but what about looking at yourself and asking “what can I do to make it better?” Economically speaking if there is more demand for oil, it allows the oil companies to raise their prices. However, if oil consumption was more under control it would lower oil’s overall cost.

An easy way for Americans to help lower the price of oil is to reduce their use of plastic bags.

In 2006, the amount of trips consumers make to the supermarket was approximately 1.9 times per week. That’s over 100 trips alone to grocery stores, not counting drug and retail stores. Just in Washington DC alone the plastic bag consumption was 22.5 million bags per month!

A lot of claims about using reusable bags make statements about the environment and the decomposition of plastic bags. It is alarming to know that it takes about 1000 years to decompose with plastic bags also affecting the rivers and wildlife. Taking responsibility for your own actions will change the environment one person at a time. That may seem like a minimal but as more people use reusable bags it will become the norm just as plastic bags are the norm now.