Jan 30, 2008

Why do We All Need to Use Reusable Shopping Bags?

I just wanted to remind you all that you need to be using reusable shopping bags now! I've noticed more and more of these being sold at all of the grocery stores for very little cost. 

 My husband hated all the plastic bags we ended up with under the sink, since I won't throw them away. I usually ask for paper, but a lot of places don't even ask you before they start bagging things and they just use plastic cause it's cheaper for them. Now I just say "I have my own bag right here" right when they start putting things in a bag, and they are always delighted at that for some reason. So I always thought that paper had to be better than plastic because you can recycle them and use them for a lot of things, and they are more biodegradable than plastic (which I can attest to because I've buried quite a few under my flower beds and they aren't there after a couple months). Boy was I wrong, this is what motivated me to move on and EVOLVE.

C'mon people take some responsibility. And if you're worried about looking fashionable I've got some great links to some fun grocery bags you can buy too. the more people see others in the grocery store with their own bags, the more people will start using them. So be part of the solution, it's not like it's THAT hard. IF you have kids this should be more important to you than anyone else, if you want them to be living in a safe, healthy environment when they grow up. Teach them some responsibility. 

Top Facts - Consumption
· Each year, an estimated 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags are consumed worldwide. That comes out to over one million per minute. Billions end up as litter each year.
· According to the EPA, over 380 billion plastic bags, sacks and wraps are consumed in the U.S. each year.
· According to The Wall Street Journal, the U.S. goes through 100 billion plastic shopping bags annually. (Estimated cost to retailers is $4 billion)
· According to the American Forest and Paper Association, in 1999 the U.S. alone used 10 billion paper grocery bags, requiring 14 million trees to be cut down.
· According to the industry publication Modern Plastics, Taiwan consumes 20 billion bags a year—900 per person.
· According to Australia's Department of Environment, Australians consume 6.9 billion plastic bags each year—326 per person. An estimated .7% or 49,600,000 end up as litter each year.

Top Facts - Environmental Impact
· Hundreds of thousands of sea turtles, whales and other marine mammals die every year from eating discarded plastic bags mistaken for food.
· Plastic bags don't biodegrade, they photodegrade—breaking down into smaller and smaller toxic bits contaminating soil and waterways and entering the food web when animals accidentally ingest.
· As part of Clean Up Australia Day, in one day nearly 500,000 plastic bags were collected.
· Windblown plastic bags are so prevalent in Africa that a cottage industry has sprung up harvesting bags and using them to weave hats, and even bags. According to the BBC, one group harvests 30,000 per month.
· According to David Barnes, a marine scientist with the British Antarctic Survey, plastic bags have gone "from being rare in the late 80s and early 90s to being almost everywhere from Spitsbergen 78° North [latitude] to Falklands 51° South [latitude].
· Plastic bags are among the 12 items of debris most often found in coastal cleanups, according to the nonprofit Center for Marine Conservation. 

Top Facts - Solutions
· In 2001, Ireland consumed 1.2 billion plastic bags, or 316 per person. An extremely successful plastic bag consumption tax, or PlasTax, introduced in 2002 reduced consumption by 90%. Approximately 18,000,000 liters of oil have been saved due to this reduced production. Governments around the world are considering implementing similar measures.
· July 2003, ReusableBags.com goes live, advancing the mainstream adoption of reusable shopping bags.
· Each high quality reusable shopping bag you use has the potential to eliminate hundreds, if not thousands, of plastic bags over its lifetime.

This is what I bought on ebay and I love these fancy ones, but if you want the basic ones they work well and are the size of a regular grocery bag. Basic bags &Fancy bags
If you want to find your own, just go to ebay search and enter "grocery tote" or "Grocery Bag" in the search. Or just buy any ol tote bag if you want. There is a fabulous site with LOTS of different grocery bags, and cool stylish ones here at Reusablebags.com
Also don't forget that most stores offer a discount when you bring your own bag. Although it isn't a lot, it is something and that means the more people use their own bags the more the prices should go down at the stores as well for everything. Every time I bring my bags to the store (which I just keep in the car all the time) the cashiers are complimenting me on how cool they are and number of people ask me where I got them. So if you are worried about attracting attention, it won't be the negative kind. Plus you don't have to worry about your bags falling apart or what to do with all those plastic bags you end up with. 

I also noticed at our local Trader Joes they have a prize drawing every week that is exclusively for customers who bring their own bag into the store for the groceries. Maybe some of the other stores will catch onto this. Trader Joes isn't my favorite place to shop but this is certainly a positive thing for them to do.  

There are a couple of people on Etsy that sell really cool resuable totes here are their stores if you are interested I just love their bags: Melissa Vest Designs and Peace Love & Canvas and Modern Charm There are plenty of other sellers of reusable totes on etsy just enter "Shopping tote" into the search spot. I found these really nice shopping totes they are selling at my local Fred Meyers for half off right now which meant they are only 4 bucks a piece! and they are super cool and easy to clean since they are nylon bags. The tag says they are made by Patty Reed Design and they are big with a 3 glass bottle pockets (I find great for wine bottles) and a newspaper pocket that folds flat when you don't use it so it's perfect for keeping items separate when you need to. I really like these bags and I wish I found them sooner they have neat designs on the outsides.

ANYWAY I just want to keep you all on your toes when you buy groceries. Bag waste is a HUGE problem and we can all easily remedy it by just bringing our own. And YES my husband does keep a couple in his car as well for when he picks up groceries and other small shopping items as well.If you're feeling creative, just sew your own. Keep em in your car, cause you never know when you want to pick things up. Feel good about doing something for the world and future generations.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! Thanks so much for the great info! I'm so glad that you like my bags!