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I Love Reusable Bags…I Hate Plastic Bags

January 21, 2010

Reusable bags come small enough that you can zip them up and carry them in a purse or backpack. They come big enough they can fit ten boxes of cereal. They come in bright colors and designs, dark colors with company names. Thankfully you can buy them anywhere-Target and Walmart, Fashion Bug and Old Navy, Whole Foods and Walgreens. You can also get reusable bags that have insulation, so you can use them during the summer for a picnic or sporting event. They are even great for when you have too much stuff to fit in your bag and you need another.

I love reusable bags. I have gotten some seriously cute ones. The very first I ever got was on a trip to Scotland, so it is a special one. They have a store, very much like Walmart, called Marks & Spencer and I got some food for dinner and didn’t want a plastic bag so bought a reusable one. Man that thing is strong. I have since used it to carry groceries including a bunch of cans and ½ gallon of milk. Silly I know, getting excited about a black bag with plastic handles that holds a bunch of stuff.

I love that these bags are fashionable and have other uses. I have used them for dirty clothes, as a gym bag, lunch bag, a diaper bag. They are bright enough so if you throw them in your back seat you can find them easily. They come fashionable enough that you don’t look silly carting around vinyl bags. They have good causes besides being earth friendly. The Feed/Read Bag available at Barnes & Noble donates the revenue of the bag to under-privileged children. The children in Nepal receive three school lunches and three Room to Read books. The FEED 2 bag from donates its proceeds from these bags, sold on-line at Amazon and in stores such as Whole Foods and Harrods, feeding two children for one entire year through the UN World Food Programme. Why not spend a couple extra dollars and do something amazing?

I love that reusable bags are earth friendly. Reusable and earth friendly go hand-in-hand I know, but just because you buy something to reuse, you can forget to do it. I know I have; I have made the mistake of leaving the house without my bags, but get paper bags at the store. Not that paper is any better for the environment, but plastic bags take 1000 years to biodegrade. And that is if they even get recycled, because not everyone does it. Recycled bags end up in landfills which birds feed on, or in oceans which fish and turtles think is food. All these bags and hardly any get recycled. Not only are reusable bags better but some stores are also giving discounts if you bring your own; Winco, Whole Foods, Trader Joes, just to name a few.

Scary Factoids:

  • Production of plastic bags contributes to air pollution and energy consumption
  • 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags are manufactured each year
  • Americans use over 380 billion polyethylene bags per year
  • Americans throw away approximately 100 billion polyethylene bags per year
  • Of those 100 billion plastic bags, 1% are recycled
  • It takes 1000 years for polyethylene bags to break down
  • Approximately 1 million seabirds and mammals die per year by ingesting plastic bags
  • In 2001, Ireland used 1.2 billion disposable plastic bags, or 316 per person. An extremely successful plastic bag tax, or PlasTax, introduced in 2002 reduced consumption by 90%

I hate plastic bags. They are ridiculous. Grocery clerks double bag items while checking out. How crazy? Why do I need my one loaf of bread double bagged? Why do I need my laundry detergent bagged? Or my milk? Oh, sorry, what about that last yogurt that didn’t have room two bags ago-oh, here, let’s just put it in a bag by itself? Crazy! It makes me mad to go through the checker. Am I not capable enough to hold the detergent by its made handle, I need a bag? The eggs and bread, they are that fragile they need to go in separate bags? And double bagged?

Recently while at a local grocery store that has separate baggers from checkers, the bagger followed us out with our many plastic bags. The bagger was very nice and kind, talking politely to us the entire way. As she was putting our bags into the van one of the plastic handles broke. She started freaking out, getting worried we would be upset saying she would go in and get us a new bag. Um, why? We are putting the crap in the car not moving or something. She says that another bagger was seen putting ripped plastic-handled-bags in a car and was put on unpaid leave, and another was fired. WHAT? Are you kidding me? Fired for breaking a bag? It is plastic, and if people cannot carry the one jar of salsa that was in the bag then something is wrong with them.

I hate that everyone uses plastic bags. Not even that they use them but that they just throw them away when they get home and have put the groceries away. If you do use them why not find other uses for them? Use them for bathroom trash bags, or use them instead of the Diaper Genie? Plastic grocery bags can hold in funky smells just as good as the genie. Pack your kids or your own lunches in them, wash windows with them, put them over your children’s feet and “ice-skate” around your living room? Who knew they had craft uses?

Wouldn’t it be great if women’s handbags came with a side pocket that had a zipped reusable bag in it already and was still cute? Ooh, I think I might try to design that!

One Comment leave one →
  1. Linda permalink
    January 22, 2010 9:47 pm

    I love to recycle but can’t seem to get into the bags! Wish I could because I know all those plastic bags are bad for us. Thanks for reminding me!

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