Some Helpful Resolutions For The Single Use Bag
Across the country plastic bag bans are gaining attention from the media and consumers alike. So far multiple US cities have adopted said bans such as Telluride, CO, San Jose, CA, and Westport, CT. While cities are taking measures into their own hands, state legislatures are also starting to hear plastic bag ban bills during this congressional session. States such as Washington, Indiana, Oregon and Massachusetts are trying to pass legislation on this popular issue, simply because there are many reasons to do so.
Over 100 billion plastic single use grocery bags are used in the US in a single year and it takes approximately 12 million barrels of oil to produce this quantity. Americans only recycle 0.6 percent of the aforementioned 100 billion plastic bags. These petroleum based bags never fully degrade, taking up space in our landfills, and destroying our ecosystems. In marine habitats, such as the ocean, plastic bags break up into smaller and smaller pieces, until they reach what is known as “plastic dust.” This plastic dust, which contains toxic chemicals, is ingested by marine wildlife causing health problems. These toxins are then passed along the food chain from fish to humans.
Though plastic bags may be recycled, keeping them out of our landfills and ecosystems, this is not an ideal solution. Processing used plastic can be more costly than producing virgin plastic. According to the Berkeley Plastics Task Force, plastic recycling programs may instill a misleading perception of the benefits of recycling. Finding a market for used plastic is difficult because the manufacturers of virgin plastic firmly resist legislation requiring recycled content in their packaging products. Less costly virgin resin is flooding the market, hindering the efforts of recyclers.
So you may say to yourself, well if I just switch to paper bags at check out and I will avoid the woes of plastic. True, but did you know that it takes 5 times as much energy to produce paper as opposed to plastic bags? It also takes nine times as much energy to recycle paper than plastic! Pollution is also a concern for paper bag production. It takes 95% more water to produce paper bags and adds 50 times more water pollutants to our waterways each year. The toxicity of the chemicals used to make paper is long term and also works its way through the food chain.
The best solution for shopping bags is cloth, according to recycling directors. There are as many varieties of bags out there as there are personalities practically. From cotton or sustainable plant fibers, such as jute or hemp, to materials made from recycled plastic bottles. Which is best? Here are some pros and cons of each material.
Cotton bags can be broken into several categories cotton, organic cotton, and cotton canvas. In general, all types of cotton totes are light weight, easy to find, use less energy to manufacture, produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions, and use less potable water over t mulberry mulberry ong>he lifetime of these bags when compared to single use grocery bags.
An average sized cotton, organic cotton, or recycled cotton tote can generally hold about 10 pounds of goods. A cotton canvas tote, while pricier, is more durable, can stand up on its own, and can hold up to around 45 pounds. Organic cotton is best because it eradicates the use of pesticides, keeping waterways toxin free. Plus, you can avoid the landfill altogether by throwing it in the backyard compost pile at the end of its life.
Other sustainable fibers including hemp and jute are a great option for your reusable bag. Both hemp and jute are fast growing, low impact plants, meaning they don’t require the use of fertilizers, pesticides or as much water as cotton. Hemp is also three times stronger than cotton. An average hemp or jute bag can reasonably hold 60 pounds, just be careful when packing up the bag at checkout don’t hurt yourself! Again, at the end of its lifecycle these fibers can be composted.
There are a ton of polypropylene bags on the market today. The downside of polypropylene is that it is made from petroleum; the upside these bags can be recycled. Additionally, there are a growing number of these bags on the market that are composed, at least partially, of recycled plastic bottles, known as rePET or repreve fabric. The benefits of high quality polypropylene bags are that they can hold up to 44 pounds, are easy to clean just give them a wipe down, and can be folded, rolled or stuffed into very small sizes. They are small enough to fit in your purse or glove compartment so that you don’t forget to ta mulberry ke them with you.
Remember also to eliminate your single use plastic produce bags! There are many styl mulberry es and sizes of cloth produce bags on the market now, perfect for fruits, veggies, and grains from the bulk section.
The best way to begin switching over from disposable bags to cloth is one step at a time. Reuse the plastic bags you have as much as you can before recycling them or using them for the last time, such as cleaning up after your pet. Once you’re ready to take the plunge into the wonderful world of reusable bags, remember: cloth bags can be used thousands of times, making up for the initial $10 you spent to purchase them. Nubius Organics is a green online web store offering a wide selection of eco friendly reusable products including Reusable Lunch Bags and no waste lunch kits.