Americans throw away 100 billion plastic bags every year, and fewer than one percent are recycled. The rest end up cast off on land and at sea.
Now, reports Early Show national correspondent Hattie Kauffman, a growing number of municipalities and retailers are banning them.
Ikea plans to do that in October. Starting this week, Whole Foods won't use them.
Last year, San Francisco banned plastic bags in all the city's larger stores.
And Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels wants to take it a step further by imposing a 20 cent fee for any disposable bag.
"The answer to the question, 'Paper or plastic?' should be neither," he says. "Both harm the environment."
While most environmentalists take aim at plastic, paper comes from trees, and processing bags creates greenhouse gases.
So, Kauffman points out, the best bag is the one you can use again and again -- provided you remember to bring it with you to the store -- and can get out of the habit of using them!
Some are even becoming fashion statements! The now chic "I'm not a plastic bag" by designer Anya Hindmarch quickly sold out in London and New York at $15 each, but are readily available at more than double that price on eBay!
Whole Foods has several styles of reusable bags, ranging in price from $29 to -- 99 cents.
To see Kauffman's entire report, click on the arrow in the image below.
FOR MORE ON THE WHOLE FOODS PLASTIC BAG BAN:
FOR MORE ON THE SEATTLE PROPOSAL TO PLACE A FEE ON BOTH PLASTIC AND PAPER
FACT SHEET FROM AN ORGANIZATION THAT PROMOTES REUSABLE BAGS:
FOR MORE ON THE ANYA HINDMARCH "I'M NOT A PLASTIC BAG" CRAZE: