We see them everywhere, are offered them everywhere (sometimes double-bagged), but until now I didn’t know the true scale of the plastic bag plague: according to National Geographic, Americans use 100 billion plastic bags a year, of which 2% are recycled. Around the world, the toll is 500 billion. That means both that Americans use one of every five plastic bags in the world and that there are 90 bags consumed each year for each person alive. That’s enough petroleum-derived film to swaddle, conceal, bury, plaster and drown us and millions of others. It is truly astronomical. If you can stomach reading more, Salon has a good article on the perils of plastic bags. The pull no plastic punches title: “Plastic bags are killing us.” And how. But (and I don’t have the answer), why on Earth are we letting them?