The Problem With Plastic Bags

Plastic bags start out as fossil fuels and end up as deadly waste in landfills and the ocean. Birds often mistake shredded plastic bags for food, filling their stomachs with toxic debris. For hungry sea turtles, it’s nearly impossible to distinguish between jellyfish and floating plastic shopping bags. Fish eat thousands of tons of plastic a year, transferring it up the food chain to bigger fish and marine mammals.

Every day thousands of marine animals become fatally entangled or are killed by ingesting single-use plastic bags that are given away by the millions in stores like Target.

Although there are recycling programs for plastic shopping bags, only about 1 percent wind up recycled. More often than not, they’re discarded and turn into life-threatening plastic pollution.

Despite all of this, plastic bags are in almost every American home because retail giants like Target continue to use them for nearly every purchase made in their stores.


Target Should Be Part of the Solution…


Between its eco-friendly product branding and its efforts to green its stores with more organic options, Target has positioned itself as a store that cares about sustainability. As one of the biggest retailers in the United States, Target’s actions can influence practices throughout the industry.

Target has set goals to reduce waste, reduce greenhouse gas emissionsand cut back on packaging for Target brand products. Yet thousands of times every day, the store sends shoppers home with single-use plastic bags — a billion a year — that end up in landfills and as litter that pollutes our remaining wild spaces and oceans, threatening sea turtles, birds and other wildlife.

Target tells its customers to “Expect More. Pay Less.” But the store ignores the high cost to the environment from its plastic bags. Other retailers and cities have successfully reduced their waste by eliminating plastic bags, making it easier to use reusable bags and rethinking how they bag purchases.

It’s time for Target to expect more… and bag less.


…But Target Still Hasn’t Announced a Plan to Phase Out Single-use Plastic Bags From Its Stores.

Target knows how to implement better bagging practices — it’s had to remove plastic bags from stores located in cities where the bags are banned. But for the rest of the country, Target continues to buck its commitment to sustainability by giving away toxic, polluting single-use plastic bags.

It’s up to us to hold Target responsible for its carbon footprint and plastic waste.

Join the Center in demanding that Target eliminate single-use plastic shopping bags from all stores in the United States.

Please sign this letter to Target Corp. CEO Brian Cornell and Chief Corporate Sustainability Officer Laysha Ward.


Demand an end to single-use plastic bags in Target stores to fight climate change and protect wildlife.

Expect more. Bag less.




Banner photo courtesy Flickr/Minustide; loggerheaed turtle photo courtesy Pixabay.