Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Help Girl Scouts Reduce Plastic Waste

The Girl Scouts of North-Central Alabama (GSNCA) will launch its year-long campaign to Reduce Plastic Waste on October 1. This campaign is in conjunction with the Girl Scouts of the USA’s (GSUSA) Forever Green Take Action Project.

GSNCA invites the community to participate in the project by reducing the number of single-use water bottles and replacing them with reusable water bottles. You may register, track and share your monthly impact by logging on to

Break the bottled water habit: Facts
  • Every second of every day in the United States, 1,000 people buy a plastic bottle of water, and every second of every day, 1,000 more throw one of those bottles away. That adds up to more than 30 billion bottles and tens of billions of dollars a year.
  • Plastic bottles are produced from fossil fuels, typically natural gas and petroleum. More than 1.5 million tons of plastic are used to just bottle water.
  • Most plastic bottles are not recycled, and plastic bottles and caps often end up in the ocean.
  • Cleaning up plastic trash is expensive for our communities, but reusable bottles save money and protect our planet and our health.
  • If half a million Girl Scouts each recycled five plastic containers, they could save enough energy to power a compact fluorescent light bulb for 6,849 years.
You can also help reduce plastic waste by replacing plastic bags with reusable bags.

Bag the plastic bag habit: Facts
  • It is estimated that Americans go through about 100 billion plastic bags a year, or 360 bags per year per every man, woman, and child in the country.
  • If everyone in the United States tied their annual consumption of plastic bags together in a giant chain, the chain would reach around the Earth's equator 776 times!
  • Every reusable bag used takes the place of 600 single-use plastic bags.
  • Once used, plastic bags may last for up to 1,000 years; every single piece of plastic ever manufactured is still on the planet: in use, in landfills, as wind-blown litter on land, or as toxic contaminants in water like global river systems and oceans.
  • Paper bags are not a good alternative to single-use plastic bags. Stores typically pay more for paper bags than plastic, anywhere from 5 to 23 cents per bag; these costs are then embedded in food prices, which are eventually passed on to consumers.
  • Plastic pollution is found floating in all the world's oceans, everywhere from the polar region to the equator. It can take hundreds of years or more to break down, and some types never truly biodegrade at sea.
  • An estimated 100,000 marine mammals and as many as 1 million sea birds die every year after ingesting or being tangled in plastic litter. At least 267 different species are known to have suffered from entanglement or ingestion of plastic marine debris.
  • In the environment, plastic breaks down into smaller and smaller particles that attract toxic chemicals. These particles are ingested by wildlife on land and in the ocean, and can contaminate our food chain.
  • Plastic affects human health: Harmful chemicals leached by plastics are already present in the bloodstream and tissues of nearly all of us, including newborns.