5 Things You Should Know About Reusable Bags

Arriving at the checkout at the local grocery store, you will see the cashier start loading your purchases into a plastic bag. You may not be aware, but that decision alone is responsible for significant pollution to our environment and death for the wild animals affected by discarded plastic bags.

[ photo: menlopark.org ]

1 People Use Hundreds of Plastic Bags a year

The average person uses between 350 and 500 plastic bags a year, contributing to the use of over 100 billion annually. Those who turn to using reusable bags can help put a dent in that significant number, especially considering the fact that plastic bags can take up to 1,000 years to decompose.

2 Discarded Plastic Bags Escape and Kill

The light weight of plastic bags means they don’t stay in landfills. Instead, they get caught in wind or water and float away. More than one million birds and thousands of turtles are killed by these escaped plastic bags each year. When you opt to use a reusable grocery bag, you are ensuring the continued life of these wild creatures.

3 Even Recyclable Bags Don’t Get Recycled

Of the bags that are labeled recyclable, roughly 20 percent are actually recycled and put to effective use again. The rest are discarded like plastic bags that are not recycled, and those bags go to our landfills to languish for hundreds or even a thousand years before decomposing. This means landfills are a significant detriment to the environment for years beyond the lifespan of each person that opts for plastic bags at the grocery store.

4 Oil Is a Fossil Fuel and Finite Resource

It takes 12 million barrels of oil each year to create one billion plastic bags. Meanwhile, instead of creating 14 plastic bags, that petroleum can be used to power a car for one mile. Since transportation is a concern, and we are struggling to ensure that we continue to have the ability to travel and keep cars on the road, it is smarter to use reusable plastic bags and free up that amount of oil to focus on creating fuel for vehicles. Our world can survive without plastic bags for groceries, but it will suffer in a more notable fashion when the transportation grinds to a h

5 Paper Bags are Not the Answer

Papers bags weigh ten times as much as plastic bags, meaning more fuel is required to ship plastic bags to stores. Paper bag production requires chemicals and high temperatures, which means toxins are released at the same rate as when plastic bags are produced. This is not helpful to our environment in any way.

While most people consider plastic bags to be an inexpensive way to carry groceries home, the reality is that the cost in the long-term is significant and is paid by not only the present generation but also by future generations that have to live in the environment contaminated by plastic products, including plastic bags. Now is the time to change what we use and help save the environment for future generations.

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