Not long ago the question at the checkout was “Paper or plastic?” Well, we’re not seeing many paper bags these days. As it turns out, they may not be the better, environmentally friendly option. Besides cutting down trees, it takes a lot of energy to make and transport the heavier paper. When you need a bag, a good alternative is reusable bags. Research shows they make significant savings of materials and energy. While reusable bags are easy at the grocery store, what about that trip to the hardware store, convenience store or any other time you make a purchase? An encouraging trend I’ve noticed lately when I’m purchasing only a couple of items is the question “Would you like that in a bag?” Great question! It makes me consider whether or not I need that single-use plastic bag at all.
It’s hard to get good data on how many disposable bags we use, but a general number I’ve come up with is around a trillion bags per year, globally. Easier to verify is that only a small fraction of those get recycled. So, we’re using petroleum to make a product we use once then ship off to the landfill.
Often, when we’re purchasing only a few items. The number one, best choice of which bag to use is…”no bag, thanks!”