Bags: from plastic to permanent

Plastic bags are cheap and crunchable, and great for picking up dog waste. But they are a killer on the environment.

A 2003 report from National Geographic stated that “somewhere between 500 billion and a trillion plastic bags are consumed worldwide each year.”

They are littered all over the environment, (who hasn’t seen one blowing around on a windy day or lying in the street,” and they take hundreds of years to break down.

My family has always had plastic bags when grocery shopping. I even remember my mom requesting plastic over paper when we were little, and explaining how it was better for the environment because it didn’t kill trees. So much for that argument.

Anyway, this is the plastic bag-bounty after a typical weekend grocery run in my house:

Too many plastic bags

Too many plastic bags

Obviously, those can add up fast. So I convinced my parents to invest in some reusable bags.

My mom admits that we were using way too many plastic bags, and that they were cluttering up our house. The ones we have left, we reuse as wastebasket liners or packing material.

My mom then bought some canvas bags. She keeps them in her car, because if she forgets them when she runs out to the store, she feels guilty.

Reusable bags for all our grocery needs.

Reusable bags for all our grocery needs.

She likes them better than plastic bags because they create less waste, they’re stronger and they protect food better than plastic or paper ever did. And because she limits herself to the bags she brings in, she buys less too.

She said she sees more people using them all the time.

“It’s embarassing to not have them,” she said.  “If you don’t have reusable bags, you’re kind of a social outcast.”

My mom also pointed out that Fry’s, the grocery store she frequents, gives her a .20 cent discount for each reusable bag she brings in.

She’s tried a lot of different brands, but said by far, the Walgreens reusable bag  is the best, (those are the cream colored ones in the picture.) They are the widest and strongest, she said, and they don’t have a flashy pattern that makes you self-conscious when carrying them.

Reusablebags.com has a lot of different types of bags, so you can find the kind that works best for you.

If you’re still not convinced that plastic bags are bad, (I know some people who aren’t,) Treehugger has a great article called, “Paper Bags or Plastic Bags? Everything You Need to Know.”

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2 Comments

Filed under bad habits, Too much plastic

2 responses to “Bags: from plastic to permanent

  1. There are so many fantastic bags. You can use them to make a fashion statement. One search on Etsy.com and you will find so many that you could hardly choose.
    I have been plastic bag free for almost a year and it is a good thing. I make my own bags and they have become who I am. I use all reclaimed fabrics, and give them a second life, keeping them from piling up in the landfill!
    I am so glad that you and your family have converted!
    Keep up the good work.

  2. About the cleaning. I use simple green, it is gentle on the environment, and tough on dirt. They have come out with simple green naturals. You should check them out. I have not tried that variety, but I might buy that when I run out next time.

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