Using reusable grocery bags has more benefits than helping the planet and reducing your carbon footprint. Here’s why you should be using them.
As if we weren’t all well aware of the damage caused by plastic waste before, in 2018, the Collins dictionary declared ‘single-use’ the word of the year.
This accolade highlighted the public’s changing perception of disposable packaging and our increasing preference for reusable grocery bags over single-use plastic bags. The term single-use once conveyed convenience and practicality, but now it has come to represent society’s careless disregard and excess consumption.
But, although images of plastic drifting in the ocean showed how harmful plastic can be, single-use paper grocery bags are no better. It takes four times as much energy to make a paper bag while the US cuts down as many as 12 million trees each year for their manufacture.
With these facts in mind, isn’t it time that you said no to all disposable bags? Read on to find out more about the many benefits of switching to reusable bags.
1. Better for the Environment
Although we only use plastic bags for an average of 12 minutes, they can take as long as 1,000 years to decompose. Recycling plastic bags is rarely an option as they cost more to recycle than they’re worth, while the US only recycles around 20 percent of paper bags.
The materials used to make these disposable bags also contribute to their environmental damage. One 15-20-year-old tree – which can help to reduce the effects of pollution – only makes 700 paper bags. And it takes vast amounts of crude oil and natural gas to manufacture plastic bags, while both kinds need even more fossil fuels for shipping.
Reusable bags, in contrast, are usually made of jute, canvas, and cotton, all of which are biodegradable. And the fact that you can use them hundreds of times before you even need to think about disposing of them also means that they make up for the energy used to make them.
Reusable produce bags also help the environment in an additional way. As you’ll find if you shop these collections, reusable food bags help to keep your sandwiches, produce and snacks fresher for longer than disposable bags. As a result, you’ll throw away less food, helping to reduce the negative environmental impact of food waste.
2. More Economical
Many stores now charge for plastic bags. While it’s only a few cents, the average American family takes home around 1,500 plastic shopping bags per year. If every bag costs 5 cents, that’s $75 your family has spent on useless and harmful plastic!
In contrast, while reusable shopping bags might cost more than a few cents, you can use them hundreds of times, saving you a lot of money in the long run.
Using reusable shopping bags also saves you money as a taxpayer. By saying no to plastic bags and opting for reusable ones, you’re helping your local government fund community projects rather than litter clean-ups.
3. More Stylish
Another benefit of reusable shopping bags is that they’re far more stylish than ugly plastic bags. Whether you go for a bright cotton tote or a neutral-colored jute shopper, reusable shopping bags are designed to be a lot more fashionable.
4. Sturdier and Longer-Lasting
Whether they’re made of reinforced plastic or fabric, reusable bags are far sturdier than paper or plastic bags, meaning they rarely tear or break. So, you can wave goodbye to double-bagging and spilled groceries and say hello to fewer trips to the car!
And, if they do happen to tear, reusable bags are easy to fix with a needle and thread. Fabric bags are also easy to wash if you spill anything or get them dirty while reusable plastic bags are easy to wipe clean.
5. More Comfortable
While reusable shopping bags often have long, wide, and sometimes even padded straps for you to put over your shoulder, you can usually only carry plastic bags in your hands. If you overload them too much the plastic handles cut into your hands and are uncomfortable to carry, even for a few minutes.
6. Multiple Uses
The great thing about reusable shopping bags is that you can use them for a lot more than just carrying your shopping home from the store.
Reusable plastic bags are great for the beach or for a picnic as you can wipe them clean if you spill any liquids or foods inside. They’re also sturdy and reliable enough to use for transporting awkward-shaped items when you move house.
Likewise, many totes and shoppers are so stylish that they’re ideal for using as a purse or diaper bag, and they can also be good for carrying your gym gear around.
7. More Practical and Convenient
Because of many of the advantages and potential uses of reusable shopping bags, you’ll soon see how handy it is to have at least one in your handbag or in your car at all times.
This way, if you have to go to the store after work or need to transport something home, you’re always prepared. The same can’t be said of single-use plastic bags, which you’re unlikely to want cluttering up your bag or car. As such, reusable bags a lot more practical and convenient than plastic bags.
8. Take up Less Space
While reusable shopping bags are usually bigger than disposable ones, they often fold flat for storage. Some even come with their own easy-storage pockets, ensuring they take up less space in your home and are more convenient to carry around.
As opposed to the 50 or so plastic bags you used to have stuffed in a drawer or cupboard, you’ll only need three or four reusable shopping packs in their place. And, since they’re a lot more convenient and reliable, you’ll be more inclined to use them when you go shopping, rather than getting more plastic bags to add to your collection.
9. Positive Influence
Ditching disposable bags for good is a way to do your bit and inspire others at the same time. Seeing you fill up your reusable produce bags and shopping bags at the store and carry them around town may wake up others to the benefits of using these bags.
The Benefits of Reusable Grocery Bags
As this list shows, there are so many more reasons to use reusable grocery bags than you might have considered.
While the environmental benefits should be enough motivation to make the switch, you’ll soon see that the added benefits of saving money, practicality, convenience, and style are sure to make you never want to go back to disposable bags.
For more inspiring ways to support and enjoy all our planet has to offer, be sure to check out our other blog posts!