Giving Up Plastic Bags

January 13, 2009


A million plastic bags are used every minute. That’s an inconceivable amount. Plastic bags take 1000 years to degrade in our landfills and though they don’t take up much space one by one, in the millions they certainly do.  There is a cute company making chairs out of plastic bags- they claim that one smart way to keep plastic bags out of the landfill is to sit on them. So what about paper? Some people make the case that paper is a renewable resource, why not use paper bags?The process to get our bags takes a toll on the environment even before the bag gets to you. Even though you can compost your bags, or recycle them- which is a huge chemical process, the damage is already done. But,  you can give them up, right?

Is it difficult to carry our own shopping bags? It really isn’t. I always have a god feeling when I reach into the back seat and tuck my bags under my arm. I also like that I get $.05 back for each bag I use at checkout at the grocery store…You can use cloth bags or reused paper bags until they fall apart. Carrying your food in a box will work, too. If you’ve made the switch to carrying your own bags have you ever gotten to the checkout line and realize…oh, no, my bags are in the car- and said, “hang on a sec and I’ll run out to get them”?  Sustainable Dave has his video on not using plastic bags. He says, ‘You don’t forget your wallet when you go to the store, right?” You just train yourself to take cloth bags with you. Also suggestion for making your own original bags by sewing up t-shirts. Whatever…

Here is a great site to buy reusable gear called with “products that help people consume less” and where you can:

  • Learn – newsfacts and images showing how consumption has gotten out of control and what to do about it.
  • Take Action – Sensible ideas and tools to take action and spread the word about the reusables movement.
  • Shop – More than 700 high-quality, reusable products made from truly sustainable materials and supporting Fair Labor/Fair Trade practices.

This morning we realized we had no plastic bags in our bag collection. that was a bummer because we needed one, but also was a triumph because clearly we have cut down on our use. All except the big black garbage bags. My personal goal is to get our trash down to less than a bag a week. I’ll post about trash soon. Interesting subject.

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