It’s no secret our oceans are now polluted more than ever. Each year, about 2.41 million tons of plastic is dumped into our oceans. Today, more places are banning regular plastic retail shopping bags and mandating reusable bags, and for good reason. Reusable shopping bags can have a positive impact on the environment and help slow pollution in the oceans.
The biggest draw to reusable shopping bags is they are eco-friendly. In fact, just one reusable bag uses the same amount of energy as about 28 normal plastic retail shopping bags or eight paper bags. Think of all the plastic bags you have laying around your house. Now think they could all be replaced with one or two large reusable shopping bags.
Friend to the Sea Animals
Sea turtles, fish, coral reefs, and other sea animals have been known to suffocate or get stuck in plastic waste that was disposed of in the ocean. If that isn’t enough, getting stuck in waste leaves the sea animals more vulnerable to predators. Just in case that doesn’t make you sad enough, in case the animals don’t die, the plastic can cut into their skin and grow around it as the sea animals don’t have a way of getting it off their bodies.
Conservation and Protecting Natural Resources
All that plastic waste has to go somewhere and most of the time if it’s not heading into the oceans it is going into a landfill. According to the EPA, plastic retail shopping bags make up for 0.3% of municipal solid waste.
Creating landfills cuts down millions of trees, which destroys habitats to tons of wildlife. Land on earth is finite, and we are going to run out sooner or later if we are not careful about the environment and the impact we have on it. Plus, have you ever driven past a landfill? They smell horrible. Now imagine if you would have to live next to one. No thank you.
Make Your City Look Nice
Another downside to those plastic retail shopping bags is they get stuck flying everywhere because of how lightweight they are. Oftentimes they are in parks, cities, and flying down the highway. They are unsightly to look at and are annoying to run after. If we make reusable shopping bags the norm, there will be no more plastic bags flying around. Our playgrounds will be beautiful again and we won’t have to worry about the loops getting stuck around birds’ necks.
Shopping Made Easier
Reusable shopping bags are less likely to tear and can carry more things in them at once. This means less trips to your car and you can walk a ways without having to worry about food falling from the bottom of your bag. The easiest way to remember your reusable bag is to keep a few in your car. That way, next time you run out to the grocery store your bags will already be in the car waiting for you.
Another nice feature of reusable bags is they absorb more moisture than regular plastic shopping bags. Think of frozen items or drinks that accidentally spill while you are on your way home from the grocery store. If this happens with a plastic bag then you can expect a big mess in your vehicle. However, if you are using large reusable shopping bags then the cotton will soak up the liquid. Once you get home just throw the reusable bag in the wash and you are good to go.
While a monetary incentive might not work directly on the environment, it does have an impact on deciding to purchase reusable shopping bags. Many retailers use these incentives if you bring or use your own reusable shopping bag. There are a few big box stores that offer $0.5 off your total or even $0.05 off per bag. Over a year, this can add up. Some stores even have weekly raffles if you use reusable bags where you are entered to win a gift card to the store. Before you head out to buy groceries again, check to see if you get a discount for bringing your own reusable bag.
They Look Good
Who doesn’t like a new bag to go with a new outfit? Ok, it is just the grocery store but a cute reusable shopping bag can be a good incentive to use it more often. Reusable bags come in many different colors and styles, and some you can even personalize. These make great gifts for any special occasion.
The Positive Impacts of Reusable Shopping Bags
Reusable shopping bags are eco-friendly, help save the sea life from toxic plastic bags, they are durable, and oftentimes there are monetary incentives to use them. You can personalize your reusable bag to fit your own unique style, so what is there not to love?