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.