"At Taco Bell on Main Street in Ventura, Calif., you can take out the chalupa of your choice—Baja, Nacho Cheese, or Supreme, with ground beef, chicken, or steak. But it will always come in a small plastic shopping bag. The bags arrive preprinted from a factory in Asia—usually. One brilliant summer morning in 2000, the small private research vessel Alguita discovered a 10-mile-wide flotilla of the disposable sacks, an estimated 6 million of them destined for Taco Bells around the country, bobbing more than 1,000 miles west of the Ventura store. “We were out in the middle of the Pacific, where you would think the ocean would be pristine,” recalls the Alguita’s captain, Charles Moore. “And instead, we get the Exxon Valdez of plastic-bag spills.” reprinted from Thomas Hayden / U.S. News and World Report.
The above article is from November, 2002. Years later, this 'island' of plastic trash is twice the size of Texas and more than 30 feet deep. Added to by a Nike shoe spill, and disused fishing nets, It's devastating the ecosystem. And now there are two of them. Every time I go to the deli or supermarket, I think of that plastic island and that image is the one thing that has been a reminder NOT to accept the bags at the checkout counter. Having said that, most of us forget sometimes and end up with a pile of them at home. These bags, unlike their canvas counterparts, are extremely portable, thin, and lightweight. They make the perfect, um...bags! I stuff them in my purse and away I go. For a more stylish (and stronger) choice I love my Envirosax bag. Rolls up nicely and looks great. For more info on the plastic island take a look at The Chic Ecologist.