Plastic Bag Clean Up Costs

Our cities are literally throwing away hundreds of millions of dollars every year on plastic bag clean up costs.

It’s estimated that Americans use over 380 billion plastic bags and wraps a year.  Nationwide, city clean up efforts are estimated to amount to an estimated $11 billion per year.  From landfill, to litter removal, to trash collection, cities are paying the price for plastic bag clean up in a variety of ways.   

Now, that’s what I call government waste! Let’s stop throwing away our tax dollars.

In 2004 The City of San Francisco estimated the cost of clean up and landfill at 17 cents per bag.  Here is how they calculated the cost per bag for the 50 million bags used in that city per year.

Contamination of recycling stream: $1.09 million/year = 2.2 cents per bag.
Collecting and disposing of bags: $3.6 million/year = 7.2 cents per bag.
Removing bags from streets: $2.6 million/year = 5.2 cents per bag.
Processing in landfills: $1.2 million/year = 2.4 cents per bag.
Total cost per bag in SF alone: $8.49 million/year = 17 cents per bag

These costs are similar across the US.  Help reduce government waste by reusing bags today!

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