Plastic bags were first introduced in grocery stores in the late 70s.
Now, according to reuseit.com, the average American family uses 15 plastic grocery bags each trip to the store which adds up to over 100 billion bags a year (statistic as of 2009). NRDC.com estimates that the average American family uses about 1,500 plastic bags a year. Each reusable bag can eliminate hundreds of plastic bags.
Cleanair.org states that California alone spends approximately $25 million to dispose of plastic bags and about $8.5 million to clean up plastic bags from the streets.
The benefit of plastic bags over many types of reusable bags is that they are 100% recyclable. But, as of 2010, Cleanair.org found that less than 1% of plastic bags are recycled every year and recycling one ton of plastic bags can cost about $4,000.
Littered plastic bags will break down, but they aren't biodegradable, they are photodegradable. This means that they are broken down by light which is an extremely slow process and they break down into particles that are harmful to the soil and the water. Reuseit.com notes that since landfills don't allow any light, these plastic bags may never break down.
For me personally, planning ahead it key. Austin's plastic bag ban means that we either have to purchase a thicker plastic reusable bag at the checkout or we have to attempt to carry our groceries in our arms. If I simply plan out a trip to the grocery store, I remember to grab my reusable totes thus sparring me the embarrassment of trying to carry way more than is humanly possible.
The cuter the tote, the easier I find it is to remember to bring it. Also, I find that I prefer cotton to plastic because it's easier to store in my purse and I can air it out easier in the sun in between shopping trips.
Since our grocery store is within walking distance, having straps that that can go over my shoulder is a must for the walk back home. Especially when I'm buying milk and other items that seem to get heavier as I walk up the hill to our place.
Now, let us introduce you to a new product that we just started carrying in our shop. A little something we like to call:
The most adorable Shopping Bag you ever did see.
Photo from JOYN
Handmade, beautifully block printed cotton shopping bags to make your trips to the grocery store full of just a bit more joy and your neighborhoods less full of just a bit less waste.
And can we say that these two block prints may be our favorites yet?
Do you use reusable shopping bags? Why or why not? We'd love to continue the discussion in the comments below:
Author: Jen Lewis is Owner & Director of Purse & Clutch. You can connect with Jen on Google+. She has been running P&C since 2011, and gets excited about connecting resources to needs.