Slowly but surely, people are leaving behind the idea that grocery shopping means getting home, unpacking, and throwing away a lot of single-use plastic bags that will sit in a landfill for the foreseeable future. But, why is that so common? And, what now? And what happens to all the plastic already consumed for disposable items like grocery bags and water bottles? The good news is many options are out there, and some even consider re-purposing that disposed of plastic.
There is a multitude of reasons to switch from disposable plastic bags to reusable alternatives. In addition to the fact that plastic bags are not biodegradable and are crowding our landfills, they also create pollution to manufacture. Plastic bags also endanger our sea life as thousands of marine animals die each year due to them floating in the ocean. For these reasons, switching away from plastic bags is something most people can do with little effort to make a difference for the environment. What economic costs are there for not using Reusable Shopping bags?
Due to the environmental issues associated with plastic, cities and countries worldwide are starting to assign costs to the use of plastic bags while shopping or are imposing outright bans. In areas where there is now a charge applied each time a shopper uses a disposable plastic bag, switching to reusable is cheaper in the long run. To assist, many grocery stores now sell reusable options for a small cost. Shoppers can purchase them right in the checkout line. Often, they are moisture and stain-resistant to offset the complications of using cloth bags to carry food. However, these are not the only options a shopper has. The number of options for reusable bags continues to grow.
What options does the shopper have now? Realistically, almost any bag can be a grocery bag. But they should be large enough to carry quite a few items, like a sizable tote. The issue with many tote bags is that they are cloth, which can be stained or absorb smells or bacteria from groceries. They also do not address the non-biodegradable plastic already used for bags and water bottles. A solution to both issues is the recycled plastic grocery bag. They stand up to moisture better than cloth, are washable, and give new purpose to plastic materials that have already been used. Some even have strap options or come with a clip to fasten to a purse or backpack. That means no more getting to check-out and realizing the reusable bags are back at home.
There are more options than ever to help grocery stores move away from single-use plastics. No matter which bag a shopper chooses, the shift from disposable plastics is an important one. Consider how long the bag is likely to last, if it can hold up to carrying heavy weights and being washed repeatedly, and how well it deals with moisture and bacteria. If a shopper can also find a way to repurpose existing plastics, even better. But, focus on what will work long-term and take heart in making a small change for the better.