Did you ever stop to think about how many plastic bags you get each year from the grocery store, convenience stores and take-out joints?

Most people wind up with a stash of those bags somewhere: Under the sink. Near the cat’s litter box. Or in the garage, ready to go back to the store for recycling.

Combined with all the bags that get thrown in the trash or turn up other places, it adds up to a lot.

That’s one reason that Omaha city officials are talking about ways to reduce or even ban plastic bags.

The United Nations and the Worldwatch Institute, an environmental think tank, say U.S. consumers use about 100 billion plastic bags a year. That’s more than 300 for each of us — five or six a week per person.

Sounds about right, for the person who goes to the grocery store once or twice a week, gets some takeout food and stops at the convenience store and the pharmacy.

In the Omaha metro area alone, with 933,000 people, that adds up to about 280 million bags a year.

Many people reuse and recycle the bags, but some bags inevitably wind up stuck in trees, streams and along fence lines.

Commenting is limited to Omaha World-Herald subscribers. To sign up, click here.

If you're already a subscriber and need to activate your access or log in, click here.

Recommended for you

Load comments

You must be a full digital subscriber to read this article You must be a digital subscriber to view this article.