If you have been to any of the grocery stores in the United States, you know they all sell their own reusable bags. In some parts of the country, you are charged for getting a plastic or paper bag to carry out your items. Washington, DC made this change to keep those plastic bags from ending up in the Anacostia and Potomac rivers. If you are looking at getting reusable grocery bags or wine bags, you may want to know why this matters. Here are some good things about using reusable bags when you buy your groceries:
- It costs less. As was mentioned, Washington, DC stores have started charging for bags. That city is not alone. Stores charge anywhere from five to fifteen cents. If you think about how many times you go to the store, you can see how much you can save by bringing your own bag with you when you go shopping. Those small costs really do add up over time.
- You keep a lot of crap out of landfills. More than 100 billion plastic bags are used each year in the United States alone. The typical American adult will use somewhere between 350 and 500 of the bags in any given year. Using just one reusable grocery or wine bag can take 700 single use bags out of the system and out of landfills. Over the course of a lifetime, the average person uses ore then 22,000 plastic bags. Once they get to the landfill, plastic bags stay there for up to one thousand years. They are not biodegradable so when they do break down, they just turn into smaller, toxic pieces and they add more poison to the environment.
- Animals and birds will thank you. Now you cannot expect a thank you card from the animals you save but you will save a lot of them. It has been estimated that every year, one million birds, at least 100,000 turtles and more other sea animals than can be counted are killed when they eat the plastic bags that find their way into the waterways around the world. Many cannot see the difference between a bad and a jellyfish or plankton.
- You will reduce your carbon footprint. The problem with our landfills is really a problem of overcrowding. When you add to that already tight space, you make it harder for everything to break down. While the plastic bags that end up in landfills are photo, not bio, degradable, other items in the landfill can be broken down by biological processes. The problem is they need oxygen. When there is more in a landfill, even the biodegradable materials add to global warming because the anaerobic processes, that come into play, release greenhouse gases. By using reusable grocery and wine bags you can prevent at least some of this.
- Plastic are nasty to look at when people toss them out. A lot of the plastic bags that come from grocery stores end up as litter on the side of the road. They seem to be everywhere. This is not an attractive look for any city or town.
- Reusable bas are less likely to break on your way home. If you have used plastic or paper bags from the grocery store, you may have had the experience that they get wet or just break because they are packed too full. Reusable and wine bags are a lot stronger. You are less likely to make it half way home and then lose your groceries to a broken bag.
- You will be healthier when you use reusable bags. Here is a gross fact for you. There is often more fecal matter on a shopping cart or bin than on a grocery store toilet. You have no way of knowing what germs are on those plastic and paper bags they are giving out at the store. When you use a bag that you have at home, you can wash it and keep yourself and family safe from these germs.
There are a lot of the reasons to use reusable bags to get your groceries. They can carry more items are more durable and are very cost effective. There are no downsides to this alternative to throwaway bags.