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Plastic bags are a huge threat to marine life - Rethink the Bag campaign

3 July 2015 1:54 PM

An environmental campaigner asks consumers to give up the use of plastic shopping bags on the International Plastic Bag Free Day

July 3 is the International Plastic Bag Free Day. How much do you know about plastic bags and how they can be a bad contributor to the deterioration of our environment?

In 2003 a levy was included in the price of each shopping bag sold in South Africa. Between 2004 and 2014, R1,2 billion was collected through this levy.

We speak to an environmental campaigner Hayley McLellan, the initiator of the Rethink the Bag campaign.

Our excessive use of plastic shopping bags sort of mess our consciousness or our lack of consciousness as consumers. We are so gullible and easily influenced into reaching for convenience and we would rather take convenience over long term sustainable health of the environment

Hayley McLellan, environmental campaigner

Here are some facts about plastic bags:

  • 1 million plastic bags used in the world every minute
  • In South Africa alone we use 8 billion every year
  • 80% of marine litter is plastic
  • Average bag is used for less than half an hour – just over 20 minutes
  • 96% of South Africa bags end up in landfill
  • It can take up to 500 years to disintegrate, depending on type of plastic used

Listen to the full conversation on the Pippa Hudson Show:


3 July 2015 1:54 PM