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Top Five Reasons to Remember Your Reusable Shopping Bags

Updated on April 27, 2012

Reason #5: Massive Island of Plastic Bags in the Pacific Ocean

There really is an enormous island of plastic garbage floating in the Pacific ocean.

This is no urban legend. A conglomeration of floating refuse, made mostly of plastic, and at least twice as big as Hawaii, is caught in the northern, circulating currents of the Pacific Ocean. Some reports suggest it may be much larger, but sources disagree on the concentration of pollution required to qualify as part of this atrocity. I wonder if that's really where we should focus our time and energy. After all, isn't it really bad enough that there is an enormous mass of sludge breaking down into toxic chemicals, leaching into the water and being consumed by various marine life, which is then potentially consumed by us...and our children?

By the way, just in case any Easterners were breathing a sigh of relief, a second one is rapidly developing in the Atlantic.

Lookin' Good with Your Reusable Shopping Bags

You too, could be this adorable and environmentally the same time!
You too, could be this adorable and environmentally the same time! | Source

Reason #4:Those Free Plastic Bags Are So Expensive!

In addition to the environmental toll of disposable plastic bags, there is a monetary burden shared by all consumers and tax payers.

Business owners must pay for all those plastic bags: the cost is then passed along to the consumer by increasing the price of the goods the tune of over $4 billion dollars per year in the U.S. alone.

Additionally, we the tax payers, are covering the cost of collecting and discarding all those used-once plastic bags. Landfills must be built and maintained; fuel must be burned to transport, even recycling centers must consume both energy and dollars to process plastic bags. It is estimated that each plastic bag carries a 17 cent price tag in waste disposal fees. In the U.S., we go through about 100 billion disposable plastic bags per year. Let's see, does 100,000,000,000 X .17= free?

The real cost of those free disposable shopping bags...not so free.
The real cost of those free disposable shopping bags...not so free. | Source

Fun Fact: There are 42 Gallons per Barrel of Oil

Plastic bags are made from oil or natural gas.  It the takes fuel to manufacture, ship and collect bags as waste.
Plastic bags are made from oil or natural gas. It the takes fuel to manufacture, ship and collect bags as waste. | Source

Reason #3: Plastic Bags Use Gas

Plastic bags drive up the price of gas.

Yes, it is true. Plastic bags are petroleum based; this means that they are made from non-renewable resources. Then it takes more non-renewable resources to manufacture the bags, transport the bags, and ultimately dump the bags. It takes 500 million gallons of oil to manufacture one year's worth of plastic bags in the U.S.

A Tip to Help You Remember...

I know, it is quite easy to forget the darn things and leave them in the car, right? Here's one idea which helped me: keep the bags in the drivers side door of your car. You should not be able to get out of the car without seeing them. If it helps, attach something sparkly or jangly on them to get your attention at first.

Remember, it takes two weeks to make or break a habit. You can do it! I did and I'm OLD. Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks?

Reason #4: Plastic Never Goes Away

Plastic does not biodegrade: it photodegrades.

This means that plastic is essentially broken down into smaller pieces by the sun. As it breaks down, taking anywhere from a year to ...well...forever (because it never sees the sun,) toxins such as PCB and BPA are leached into the surrounding water and soil. In other words, we are poisoning the earth and everything on it, including ourselves, with all of these disposable plastics. Isn't grabbing your reusable bag well worth the effort when you consider the ramifications?

"Remember, remember, remember..."
"Remember, remember, remember..." | Source

...and the #1 Reason to Remember Your Reusable Shopping Bags: They Are Hip and Sexy!

Reusable shopping bags aren't just for groceries any more.

Ok, maybe "sexy" isn't the right word here; but they sure can be cute! You don't have to look like a fuddy-duddy, do-gooder or tree-huggin', patchouli-mamma either. Many of these bags are fun and fashionable! Take for example, any of the fantastic lines of shopping totes available at Amazon, and picked out by yours-truly, as some savvy, shoulder-slung, satchels to be proud of! For goodness sake, have fun with this!


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