50 reasons to stop using plastic shopping bags
Even recycling them is not a good solution.
Shouldn't we all, with the price of oil -- yes, they're made with oil -- and environmental worries, be moving to reusable shopping bags and bins? Plastic shopping bags are a blight, and they never -- for all practical purposes -- go away.
"With few exceptions, plastic bags will take thousands of years to break down," Fox says. "The bag my first pair of shoes came in a couple decades ago is out there, somewhere."
Here are other good points to keep in mind (to read her entire list of 50 reasons, click here):
Cost. Some stores charge 5 cents for each bag your groceries are stuffed in. Some give you a 5- or 10-cent discount if you bring you own bag. By one estimate, it costs cities 17 cents to dispose of each bag.
Recycling is ineffective and rare. Fox says it costs $4,000 to process and recycle 1 ton of plastic bags. That ton will sell for $32. "This business model is a financial failure," she dryly observes.
They're harmful to wildlife and marine life.
They're everywhere, they're everywhere. Look outside and what do you see? "They are an eyesore and scar the landscape," Fox says. In fact, they're such a huge source of litter in Africa that entrepreneurs are collecting them and weaving them into bags and hats.
Like that cool site that tracks the growth of the U.S. national debt, Reusable Bags shows the growing number of plastic bags used around the world. It's almost 1 million every minute.
Half of Fox's reasons deal with the benefits of the alternatives -- reusable bags or bins. Like Fox, we appreciate the fact that cloth tote bags don't split open and drop groceries on the floor. And we've finally trained ourself to keep them in the car and take them in the store.
Talk about recycling: Our neighbor makes grocery totes from old T-shirts, using this pattern from Instructables.
Published July 17, 2008
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