Plastic bags often become litter where they can get tangled in trees, clog waterways and ultimately make their way into the ocean. They can also harm animals who mistakenly eat them. Reusable bags of materials like jute, hemp and cotton help the environment by converting greenhouse gases into breathable oxygen. However, they require more water and energy than plastic or paper bags.
Reducing Your Carbon Footprint
The carbon footprint of everything you do — from eating and traveling to heating your home and shopping at stores that use environmentally sustainable practices — is measured by the amount of greenhouse gases released into the air. Cutting your carbon footprint helps reduce global warming and climate change. Plastic bags are a major environmental problem, as they never biodegrade and break down into microplastics that contaminate the food chain and kill marine wildlife. Using environmental shopping bags New York prevents your contribution to this plastic pollution. Reusable bags made from eco-friendly material have a lower ecological impact than classic single-use plastic bags. Still, durability has to be the primary consideration when choosing a reusable bag. A reusable bag that must be replaced after just ten trips needs to do its designed job. Remember that a plastic bag manufactured from oil (such as the LDPE bags supermarkets are starting to offer now) leaves more of this fossil fuel in the ground.
Reducing Your Litter Count
Many grocery stores have jumped on the reusable bag bandwagon, delighting environmentally-minded shoppers. But the reality is that not all bags are created equal. Plastic bags, often used only once and then discarded, damage the environment. They don’t biodegrade and leave behind microplastics that can accumulate in the food chain. In addition, they can entangle and suffocate marine animals. Plastic bags also clog landfills, contributing to pollution and environmental degradation.
In contrast, paper bags are made from a renewable resource that can be reused repeatedly. However, they require a lot of water and energy to produce. A 2011 U.K. study found that it takes three reuses for a paper bag to neutralize its climate-warming impact relative to plastic. In addition, they often contain pesticides from the cotton crops that make them. Fortunately, some companies use a more eco-friendly alternative — organic cotton.
Reducing Your Water Consumption
The plastic bag has earned a bad reputation, with millions of stray bags filling streets, rivers and oceans where they can harm wildlife or get caught on trees and fences. But it’s important to remember that plastic bags are only one part of a larger problem. Plastic bag bans and taxes have reduced litter and garbage in landfills and reduced ocean pollution and harm to marine life. But it’s also essential to consider how we use and dispose of the bags we buy.
Reducing Your Waste
Rather than paying for the single-use plastic bags you used to get at grocery stores, you can use reusable shopping bags you purchased or make. These bags are also stronger and more durable than their disposable counterparts. It means they are less likely to tear and wear out after repeated use, reducing the number needing replacement. Reusable bags are also better for the environment than plastic bags, as they don’t wind up in landfills or polluting our oceans. Plastic bags, on the other hand, are a major eyesore that can become caught in trees and fences, clog waterways and eventually make their way into our oceans, where they cause significant damage to marine life and disrupt global food chains.