Plastic Bags are Very, Very Bad!


Plastic bags are very, very bad. I know this because my daughter told me so and believe you me, when she says something is bad, then it’s bad. She’s the one who’s gotten me to stop drinking soda, eating fast food, and eating anything with high-fructose corn syrup in it. So when she said we needed to use recyclable bags when we went food shopping, I had no other choice.

Now I was planning to blog about the evils of plastic bags for quite a while but I never did it. Then last week I was checking out LobsterSquad, and I was beaten to the punch with Tote Bags and Summery Dishes along with a very cool illustration titled, Plastic Bags Blow. I must admit that is one way to get your point across.

The point is that plastic bags really do blow. In fact, they are killing us. Check out these startling facts:

  • Plastic bags start as crude oil, natural gas, or other petrochemical derivatives, which are transformed into chains of hydrogen and carbon molecules known as polymers or polymer resins. After being heated, shaped, and cooled, the plastic is ready to be flattened, sealed, punched, or printed on.
  • North America and Western Europe account for 80 percent of plastic bag use–though the bags are becoming increasingly more common in developing countries.
  • Each year, Americans through away 100 billion polyethylene plastic bags while only 0.6 percent are recycled.
  • In a landfill, plastic bags take up to 1,000 years to degrade. As litter, they breakdown into tiny bits, contaminating our soil and water.

So what can you do? It’s easy. Use recyclable bags like we do. Not only will you help our planet stay healthy a little bit longer, it will make your grocery shopping much easier. Most of the recyclable bags we purchased cost us only 99 cents each. The most we paid for a bag was $2.99 for a thermal bag. These bags are much tougher than those flimsy free bags so they hold more food without the fear of the bag breaking. They come with short and long handles so they are easier to carry. And specialty bags, like our thermal bag, ensure that frozen foods make it home frozen.

Some supermarkets are getting into recyclable bags. The Superfresh down the street from me prominently sells the bags at the beginning of each check out counter. We’ve purchased many there. Shop Rite sells them, too, but they take it a step further. They give 2 cents back for each plastic bag you reuse and 8 cents for each recyclable bag you use. If you use six bags, you’re saving 48 cents. But you’re saving a lot more than money, too.

So don’t be lazy. Don’t be cheap. And don’t be apathetic. Get yourself some recyclable bags and use them the next time you go shopping. If you forget to bring them in with you, like Heather and I did the first few times we used them, don’t let it bother you. Just run out to the parking lot and get them. After a few shopping trips, bringing your bags with you will be a regular habit, just like bringing your coupons or savings card. If I can do it, so can you.

For more information regarding the plastic bag problem, check out www.reusablebags.com. To learn more about Shop Rite’s recycling habits, go to www.shoprite.com and click on the link titled Our Environment. And if your supermarket is not promoting recyclable bags, complain to the manager or write a letter to the corporate office. Or better yet, just switch to one that pushes recyclable bags like Shop Rite.

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90 thoughts on “Plastic Bags are Very, Very Bad!

  1. Preston says:

    Linh – I agree totally. It’s an easy problem to fix if everyone just got on board. (And girl, how did you find this post??)

  2. the BLAH BLAH BLAHger says:

    You’ll look WAY cooler with a reusable bag, too. The only thing plastic bags are good for are making parachutes for cats who get their necks stuck inside then run around the house like crazy.

  3. the BLAH BLAH BLAHger says:

    You’ll look WAY cooler with a reusable bag, too. The only thing plastic bags are good for are making parachutes for cats who get their necks stuck inside then run around the house like crazy.

  4. ConversationsWithACupcake says:

    Arrgh. I always forget my reusable bags at home. Which, at…say…Albertsons is not a problem. But forget those little green totes at Whole Foods and I feel like a plastic bag beeotch.

    Thanks for the great reminder! I promise to remember to bring my bags from home.

    (And happy BITS day!)

  5. Rachael says:

    I started using canvas bags last year – not only does it feel good, but they hold so much more and are sturdier than plastic too!

  6. Rachael says:

    I started using canvas bags last year – not only does it feel good, but they hold so much more and are sturdier than plastic too!

  7. KatieSaysSo says:

    I will admit I need to be alot better about this. I always tell myself I am going to and then well….lol dont. After reading this post though I for sure am going to be better! Prrrroomiiseee!

  8. cat says:

    In South Africa, a very controversial bill few years ago states that you have to buy plastic shopping bags and are not allowed to be given free by stores. Now people are really re-using plastic bags and using re-usable bags too because they have to pay for a bag each time they want one. So how’s that for a third world country?

  9. Bethany says:

    In Ukraine, which happens to be where I grew up, a third world country, they have just recently started using plastic bags in a few stores. Most places still use cloth bags, though. They don’t do it for environmental reasons, but for financial reasons. What store wants to pay to provide bags for their customers, when they can just expect their customers to bring their own bags. Anyway. . . I am glad that you posted this!

  10. Belle (from Life of a...) says:

    Happy SITS Day to you…what a wonderful compliment to be the featured blogger.

    I recently started using reusable bags and am encouraging everybody I know to do the same.

  11. Tracey says:

    Happy SITS day! Great Post. I admit I have sorta turned a “blind eye” on the whole plastic bag issue. Your post has me really thinking about it!

    Hugs!
    Tracey

  12. Christina Lee says:

    Happy SITS day!!! I know, I know- but I have yet to come up with a solution for picking up dog poop. that is why we still collect plastic bags from the grocery store. Picking it up on walks is bad enough and picking it up with a paper bag would be…ewwwwww.

  13. Natalie says:

    happy sits day!

    my city is working to ban them all together. i hope that they do! we went to six flags on monday and they even had really cute reusable totes on sale for $1.00!

    great post to get the message out!

  14. Jamiedidit says:

    The chick at out Publix gave us these little stickers for the inside of your windshield that remid you to get your bags before you go inside. They look pretty snazzy, I thought.

  15. Denise says:

    We’ve started using reusable bags, but I keep forgetting to take them to the store. Maybe I should wear them as bracelets and then they’d be with me all the time.

  16. Janna Bee says:

    I always forget mine! So annoying- I reuse the plasic ones I get as trash/recycling bags though, so at least I don’t throw away the ones I do accumulate!

  17. Jaden Paige says:

    This is a great, eye-opening post. I bought a bunch of those reusable bags that you mention, and I sometimes forget to bring them or use them… But I figure if I am making an effort, eventually it will get easier, as you said. I’ve also been bringing the plastic bags that I already have at home (they usually hang around in the kitchen for some time) back to the store to recycle them. It makes me feel good knowing I am at least doing my part to help reduce this needless waste 🙂

  18. Jaden Paige says:

    This is a great, eye-opening post. I bought a bunch of those reusable bags that you mention, and I sometimes forget to bring them or use them… But I figure if I am making an effort, eventually it will get easier, as you said. I’ve also been bringing the plastic bags that I already have at home (they usually hang around in the kitchen for some time) back to the store to recycle them. It makes me feel good knowing I am at least doing my part to help reduce this needless waste 🙂

  19. Joy says:

    I do still accidentally bring in a plastic bag here and there but I do have a number of reusable shopping bags that I use regularly.

    Sometimes I wonder, though, about the people that work in the plastic bag industry, and where our earnest efforts to be more ‘green’ will leave them?

  20. Oz Girl says:

    I reuse our plastic bags to pick up dog poop in the yard and to clean out the cat litter box…. but that doesn’t really count, does it? Still bad for the environment. I need to rethink my poo cleaning strategy… thanks for reminding us all about the evils of plastic bags.

  21. Ronnica says:

    I’m definitely too cheap to buy bags to use at the grocery store, but I have gotten several for free, enough to use for a regular shopping trip. My problem is getting in the habit of bringing them with me.

  22. Heather says:

    Another good reason to get those reusable bags now is they’res till cheap. You know one day “they’re” going to start charging $5 for a bag.

  23. Craftymoose Crafts says:

    Happy BITS Day! Well, if I didn’t know all the evils of plastic–I do now! Great informative post.

  24. meghanwelch says:

    I love our reusable bags! Such a great $5 investment! I try to remember taking them on other shopping trips as well, not just the grocery store.

  25. Cindy says:

    I just started using cloth bags, and I have to admit…I love them. They are much roomier, easier to carry, and hell, it’s good for the environment!

  26. Amy says:

    When I got to Wal-mart some of the cashiers will put one item in a bag and then I end up with 15 bags for two items. I am on my way to collecting the cloth bags.

  27. Willo says:

    Preach it BITS brother! Thank you so much for making this one of your featured posts! It is such an important, easy change and like you said…personal responsibility!

  28. Vickie says:

    We use the reusable bags as well. But Walmart checkout peeps are always giving me a dirty look.

    Walmart takes the plastic bags back for recycling. Our city recycling center also takes the plastic bags back.

  29. Libby says:

    I live WAY out in the sticks, and STILL see plastic bags in trees. It makes me want to tear out my hair! Grrr……

  30. Sera says:

    Hey! Happy SITS to you! I was excited to find out we have a BITS! So, I knew the plastic bag thing wasn’t cool, but now I really get it. Great post. I’ll be putting my reusable bags in the car now.

  31. Rachel says:

    Good post. You’re convincing me. 🙂 I have a couple of reusable shopping bags. I’ll make it a point to use them more.

    I also like getting brown paper bags at the grocery store. They are great for using with my son for different things (projects, placemats, etc.). I also use them for my microwave caramel popcorn recipe. I forget to ask for paper bags sometimes, though.

    I do have one question about not using plastic grocery bags. For those of you who use your own bags for shopping, what kind of bags do you use at home in your small trash cans? I save all of my plastic shopping bags to use in my bathroom trash cans. Is there an alternative for this?

  32. Ryan Ashley Scott says:

    Good call. Why are they even still free? If people had to pay for them, everyone would get the reusable ones. I like the stores that DO charge – it makes a difference.

    Then of course, there’s the problem of remembering to TAKE several of the 300 green bags from my garage so I don’t have to keep purchasing new ones AT the store…

  33. The Daily Blonde says:

    I was in Stop and Shop, the bigger market here, last week and the manager told me that they are an average store and pay over $5000 for plastic bags a month. That’s passed on to all of us in the price of the groceries!!!
    It’s insanity.

  34. So Not Mom-a-licious says:

    My Vons did a buy one (99cents) get one free! How awesome is that?! I wish they would do sales on the bags more often. I think it would attract more people. I only saw that sale one time. And it was a long time ago.

    Anyway, I am guilty of forgetting my bags. And it makes me so mad. Costco has some smokin’ bags that are huge(of course) and very reasonably priced.

  35. Kate Karyus Quinn says:

    The green bags are so much nicer for carrying groceries in, I just can never remember to bring mine! I actually recently read in the Wall Street Journal that people buying the green bags and not using them is worse than just using plastic in the first place, so I really need to do a better job remembering to take them to the store.

  36. carma says:

    Just walked to the local supermarket yesterday with my green bag. Just doin’ my part to save the planet 🙂
    carma

  37. Lida says:

    Thank you for posting about these, hope more people realizes what using plastic does to the planet and to us. My gf and I been going green any possible way and we feel awesome doing it, not only we no longer use those yucky plastic bags, our grocery bags are rockin to our personalities I love it!

  38. Alicia @ Oh2122 says:

    We just made the switch in the last 9 months or so, but I’m addicted. I’m constantly on the lookout for better (and cuter) bags. They’ve become my new accessory obsession.

    I do forget them once in a while, and I still feel silly when I have to explain that, no I didn’t get that in your store. I brought it with me, but thanks for trying to scan it for a whole 2 minutes while I explained that… but I’m working on it.

  39. Marrdy says:

    Good post! The place I work recycles NOTHING and it makes me crazy. And I am not allowed to do any recycling because “it’s too much of a pain”. But someday when I take over the world, then they will all bow to my wishes!!

  40. cath says:

    well said! i have no problem running back the car when i forget the bags … but they keep coming out with new designs (those saavy marking buggers) and i end up buying them too!!

  41. wendy says:

    I’m totally with your daughter on this one! We use store bags (the kind you buy at the store and reuse forever…or until you die…). We have also cut HFCS from our diet, which is no small task, I might add!

    Kudos to you!

  42. Brandy says:

    I haven’t done this yet cause I’m a lazy bitch. And I admit it. Does it help that I take my plastic bags back to the store to be recycled??? Please say yes!

    ~I’m kidding. Sorta. I will try in the future to remember.~

  43. Moi says:

    Amen to this topic!

    p.s. i bought one of the reusable bags at walmart once and while I am at the counter the lady puts the reusable bag I just bought and the three tiny items I bought into a plastic bag – I looked at her like “you have got to be kidding me” and let her know that I purchased the bag in order to use it to avoid using a plastic bag.
    yikes….

  44. StampinMom says:

    I think I buy a new reusable bag almost every time I shop…I have so many, some of them SHOULD be recycled, hehe. They have some cute ones out there! Nice post.

    StampinMom 🙂

  45. Goldibug says:

    I’ve been meaning to crochet myself some reusable bags for this very reason. This post gets me all the more determined to do so. Thanks!

  46. Alex the Girl says:

    Getting the bags is the easy part…remembering to bring them with you to the store is the hard part!

    Happy BiTS n pieces day. Enjoy your comments.

  47. nopatternrequired says:

    It is ok that someone beat you to the punch, because this kind of thing bears repeating! Maybe we should all get together an everyone post about it on the same day. Drown skepticism through sheer numbers! Anything to get people onboard!

  48. Days of Whine & Noses says:

    I’m with you here! I use those bags myself and I actually just bought a set of 3 produce (net bags) last week!

    Visiting from SITS!

  49. Live.Love.Eat says:

    I needed to read this. I have been using plastic bags still and also use them under my sink door for extra garbage as well as pick up poop in the yard from the dogs. Sorry. Anyway, I was thinking how i would really like to stop using them. With the amount of trips I make to the grocery store, I could really make a difference. Thanks! Now, I just have to figure out the poop prob.

  50. polymerclaysnails says:

    I hope we can come up w/ a ban for these bags … I have like 6 reusable bags and I always forget to bring one … 😦

    I should work on this …

  51. Leslie says:

    I usually call them permanent reusable bags. Some people would argue that those cheap plastic bags or old brown paper bags are recyclable.

  52. Carey-Life in the Carpool Lane says:

    This is my first SITS post ever…woohoo!

    Anyway, I am so happy to say that you are preaching to the choir with me. I use the reusable grocery bags everywhere…not just grocery stores. And I’ve got lots of reusable sandwich bags too…so cute. Reusablebags.com is a great resource if you need any.

  53. Michelle says:

    Oh good. I’m not the only person halfway through the store abandonig the cart to get the bags and hoping it’s still there when I get back. I feel better now 😉

  54. Shannon says:

    I have several reuseable bags… unfortunately I am guilty about not using them every single time I go to the store. But I’m trying!

  55. angie says:

    So, are we supposed to feel bad about recycling plastic bags now? I can’t keep up!

    Actually, I’ve got my reusable bags and I find it easier carrying them up my 3 flights of stairs.

  56. Aubrey says:

    I can’t tell you how bad I am about forgetting my reusable bags IN THE CAR. And I’m too lazy to run out and get them. LOL

    Today though. Today! I remembered!

  57. TattooedMinivanMom says:

    But then what would I use to pick dog shit up with?

    Not that I have a dog, I just like picking it up with plastic bags.

    Ew, that was gross. I don’t feel good. Forgive me.

    Seriously though, you got me thinking, maybe I’ll get some of those bags next time I’m at the store. My kids are in a “green” show at school tomorrow. Maybe that’ll put me in the mood.

  58. TattooedMinivanMom says:

    But then what would I use to pick dog shit up with?

    Not that I have a dog, I just like picking it up with plastic bags.

    Ew, that was gross. I don’t feel good. Forgive me.

    Seriously though, you got me thinking, maybe I’ll get some of those bags next time I’m at the store. My kids are in a “green” show at school tomorrow. Maybe that’ll put me in the mood.

  59. Nanny Goats In Panties says:

    I keep recycled bags in my car. When I haven’t left them in the house, that is. And it isn’t until I’m in the check out line and the guy asks, “paper or plastic”, that I realize I’ve left them in the car – DOH!

    I suck.

  60. Michelle says:

    I ALWAYS ALWAYS forget mine in the van…literally until the moment they start bagging my groceries. Then I’m like, next week I’m going to bring in my bags.

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