Understanding The Environmental Impact Of Reusable Shopping Bags
Society has become more environmentally conscious than ever before. By understanding our individual carbon footprints and considering the impact waste has on the planet, we're able to notice and fully comprehend the consequences of our actions. One of the easiest changes to make is the switch from plastic shopping bags to more reusable materials. Let's compare three options to determine which one is the most eco-friendly.
- Plastic: As a material that doesn't degrade, plastic is inherently bad for the environment. It's estimated that Americans use over 380 billion plastic bags and wraps each year; additionally, producing this amount of plastic bags costs 12 million barrels of oil. When you consider the fact that one person using reusable bags during their lifetime would remove more than 22,000 plastic bags from the environment, it becomes clear why you should make the change.
- Paper: Paper is a biodegradable material, but the manufacturing of paper and paper products still requires trees to be cut down. If you specifically seek out 100% recycled paper, you'll end up with a weak and flimsy shopping bag -- no good for big trips to the grocery store. That being said, paper bags are still more environmentally friendly than plastic bags; if they end up in a landfill, they'll disintegrate in a way that doesn't harm the ecosystem.
- Canvas: Heavy duty canvas totes provide a great alternative to both options. They're durable, can withstand heavy loads, and are machine washable; even though they last an incredibly long time, the1y can still be recycled and repurposed at the end of their lifespans.
Going green doesn't mean you need to drop thousands of dollars on solar panel installations or limit your showers to one a week; there are dozens of little behavioral changes you can make -- like using heavy duty canvas totes for your groceries -- that will reduce your carbon footprint.
Consider how you can use printed canvas tote bags in other areas of your life: bring a red canvas bag with you when you go clothes shopping, hand gift tote bags out as party favors instead of plastic, etc. Doing your part to protect our planet is easier than you think.