You probably have a drawer or a big bag where you keep all your shopping bags. But what type of bags do you keep in it: plastic or cloth shopping bags? The difference between these two stands in not only the materials they are made of, but also their environmental impact.
Plastic bags are toxic and dangerous for the environment. In order to decompose, one needs between 15 and 1000 years. Even after they disintegrate, they leave behind small toxic particles, affecting our flora and fauna. Yet, we still see them in many stores. Many of us are still using them because we are used to them, we may have plenty of them in our homes or we are not completely aware of other alternatives.
Cloth shopping bags, also known as reusable bags, are the eco-friendly option you can go for. Made from different materials such as canvas, polyester or recycled polypropylene, they are a great alternative to plastic bags and a simple way of protecting the environment.
Why say NO to plastic
We’ve learned plastic has a powerful negative impact on the planet. Vegetation and animals, especially the aquatic ones, are highly impacted by our great use of plastic. Videos have gone viral on the Internet, presenting how animals are affected by what we throw away. One showed how a rather small plastic straw got stuck in a poor turtle’s nostril. In order to get it out, the animal was injured and started bleeding.
Our actions can have powerful consequences. It’s like the butterfly effect. You may think that buying a soda and drinking it with a straw is an inoffensive action, but on the other side of the world, it may greatly impact a life.
Plastic is extremely used in the world. In the USA, approximately 100 billion plastic bags are used every year. With the recycling costs being bigger than the production ones, only 2% of them are recycled. This leaves us with a huge amount of plastic bags which may end up in our oceans, soils and air.
Cloth shopping bags: how and why
As opposed to plastic bags, cloth shopping ones require high costs and great resources for production and distribution. Yet, they have an important characteristic: they are reusable. Although some plastic bags can be reused as well, most of them are disposable.
If each person would use only reusable bags during their life, they would save the environment from 22.000 plastic bags. This would mean cleaner and healthier animal habitats, soils and oceans.
Despite these advantages, consumers may tend to avoid cloth shopping bags. According to a 2014 online poll, almost one half of the participants use plastic bags, although they own reusable ones and are aware of their benefits.
Campaigns were created in order to encourage consumers to use more reusable bags. Some stores even offer discounts for those who bring their reusable bags when going shopping. Next time you need to buy some products, take your cloth shopping bag with you. You may have a pleasant surprise at the cash desk.
The key, in general, with shopping bags is to reuse them as much as possible. Here we are referring not only to the cloth shopping ones, but to the plastic bags as well. Maybe they aren’t as resistant as they were in the beginning to support your products. Try using them as litter bags or for storing different items in your home.
And remember, always recycle them and contribute to creating a cleaner environment.
Where to buy them from
To make your life easier, we’ve selected a few shopping bags and created a list of suggestions for you to choose from.
1. Reusable cloth grocery bag
2. Eco-friendly reusable cloth shopping bag
3. Reusable grocery shopping bag box set