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Why are Reusable Shopping Bags Better for the Environment?

You’ve probably heard that reusable shopping bags are an eco-friendly alternative to single-use plastic bags. But what’s the reason behind this claim? What’s the problem with disposable bags and why are reusable bags better for the environment?

Something as simple as choosing the right bag for your groceries can make a big difference in the world. Even paper bags can harm the environment. But there’s another alternative: reusable shopping bags!

Keep reading to discover the problems with disposable bags and the benefits of reusable bags for the environment! Also, you will find a few tips to get the best out of your reusable shopping bags!

 

The Problems with Single-use Plastic Bags 

Problems with Single-use Plastic Bags

You might be wondering why plastic grocery bags are so terrible. They’re as useful as reusable shopping bags after all. Well, these are some of the problems with them:

 

  • Unlike reusable bags, plastic bags are made from petroleum, a non-renewable resource. Additionally, their production generates greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.

 

  • More than one million plastic shopping bags are used every minute around the world. What’s worse, most people throw them away after just 15 minutes of use! As a result, they generate a lot of plastic waste that affects the environment.

 

  • Most plastic grocery bags won’t get recycled because they can get stuck in machinery. In the best scenario, plastic bags will remain for hundreds of years in landfills. But in real life, most of them will find their way into the ocean thanks to the wind.

 

  • While it’s easy for you to identify these bags as waste, many marine animals mistake them for food. So, they can cause the death of these animals!

 

  • Like other plastics, plastic bags don’t biodegrade but rather break down into smaller pieces. These “micro-plastics” will also cause huge problems for the environment, wildlife, and food chain.

 

The Problems with Paper Bags 

Problems with Paper Bags

If you don’t use reusable shopping bags and you don’t want to contribute to plastic pollution either, you probably use paper bags. Maybe you think these bags are an eco-friendly option and there’s no need to replace them with reusable bags. Yet, they can also be problematic for the environment:

 

  • When paper bags aren’t made from recycled materials, it means many trees were cut down so you could carry your things around.

 

  • Their production requires the use of chemicals and fertilisers that harm the environment.

 

  • Manufacturing a paper bag requires four times more energy than producing a plastic bag. You would have to use it more than three times to neutralise their impact on the planet!

 

  • Unlike reusable shopping bags, you can only reuse paper bags a few times before they wear out.

 

  • Paper can’t be recycled indefinitely, so it will become waste at some point.

 

Even though paper bags are recyclable and biodegradable, their production still causes some problems for the environment. They might create less waste than plastic bags, but they aren’t as eco-friendly as you thought. Fortunately, you can avoid all these problems with a few reusable bags!

 

How Do Reusable Shopping Bags Benefit the Environment?

Reusable Shopping Bags Benefit the Environment

Think about how many plastic bags or paper bags you use when you go to the grocery store every week. That’s a lot of disposable bags you could avoid every year with a few reusable bags. And here’s how you could help the environment by bringing your own reusable shopping bags:

 

  • Less Litter on Land and in the Ocean

If you take good care of your reusable shopping bags, they could last for years and replace hundreds of disposable bags. Remember that plastic bags can be easily blown away by the wind and cause troubles for the environment. So, using a few reusable bags would reduce the amount of litter on the streets, parks, rivers, and in the ocean. 

 

  • Protect Wildlife

Using reusable shopping bags could save one animal’s life. Plastic bags cause the death of thousands of marine animals every year, particularly seabirds and sea turtles. Usually, these animals mistake plastic shopping bags for food or get trapped in them! For that reason, it’s important to replace them with reusable bags.

 

  • Save Natural Resources

While disposable bags cause problems for the environment, reusable shopping bags save trees and preserve fossil fuels! Since reusable bags can replace disposable ones, fossil fuels and trees could be used for other purposes. Better yet, not used at all! 

 

  • Fight Global Warming

Manufacturing plastic bags and bringing them to grocery stores generates a lot of carbon emissions. With one reusable bag, you could avoid several disposable bags every year and reduce your carbon footprint!

 

  • Increase Recycling Rates

If you use reusable shopping bags, you don’t need to worry about recycling plastic bags. As these plastics can get tangled in machinery, they could slow down the recycling process in some recycling facilities.

 

  • Get the Best Out of Your Reusable Shopping Bags 

Besides being a better option for the environment, reusable bags are durable and strong. But it’s important to keep in mind these tips to get the best out of them:

 

  •  Place Your Reusable Shopping Bags Next to Your Keys

If you’re going grocery shopping, place your bags next to your keys so you don’t forget to bring them with you! There’s nothing worse than leaving your reusable bags unused!

 

  •  Always Carry a Reusable Bag with You

A great way to avoid single-use bags is to have a reusable shopping bag to hand in case you need it. You could keep one in your car or purse and it could be super helpful for those spontaneous purchases!

 

  •  Wash Your Reusable Shopping Bags

Don’t forget to wash your reusable bags regularly. With this, they will always be clean and ready for the next time you need to use them!

 

  • Encourage Others to Use Reusable Cloth Bags

Finally, let others know how important it’s for the environment to stop using single-use bags!

 

Now that you know reusable shopping bags are the best option for the environment, ditch disposable bags and share this article with others to increase awareness!

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