Using reusable bags has caught on with grocery stores across the country, but many other types of businesses are slow to catch on. At some point or another, you’ll most likely be taking a plastic bag from some type of store. When you accumulate plastic bags, how can you reuse them?
Plastic bags became popular because they are a cheap, affordable way to bag groceries and goods. The bag could be thrown away after a single use. While it’s convenient in theory, disposable plastic bags have grave consequences for the environment. A single plastic bag will never disappear. Unlike other materials, plastic doesn’t biodegrade, it simply breaks apart into smaller pieces of plastic (which is actually far worse than larger pieces because they can’t be collected).
- Never biodegrade.
- Cause animals to suffocate and die.
- Use fossil fuels to create them, increasing our dependence on foreign oil.
- Are an eyesore and get caught on car antennas, mufflers, and twisted into engines
Plastic grocery bags can first of all be recycled. Many grocery stores will accept plastic bags to be recycled (usually you’ll find the receptacle near the entrance or near the can redemption center).
Recycling Plastic Bags vs. Reusing Plastic Bags
Recycling almost always uses more energy than reusing. By reusing, you’ll be giving the product a second life. When your recycle something, you’ll be using energy to turn that product into something else, which can use energy and produce emissions.
Five Reasons You Should Bring Your Own Bag
Plastic has a hugely negative effect on the environment, and also on our society. The cons far outweigh the positives of these disposable nuisances. Here are a few reasons you should consider switching to reusable bags instead of plastic:
- Bringing your own bag means you’ll be carrying less to and fro. Most reusable bags hold far more than traditional disposable bags. Fewer trips back and forth from the car!
- Each time you use your own bag, you’ll get a small credit back from grocery stores. It’s usually between 5 and 10 cents, which can add up over time.
- Using your own bag reduces our dependence on foreign oil. Plastic uses fossil fuels, which are largely found in countries that don’t have the best intentions Western World. Cast your vote for locally made reusable bags instead.
- You won’t have to worry about throwing away, recycling, or reusing your disposable bags. By reusing your own bags, you’ll have less clutter and less trash.
- You’ll be sending a green message to your children. When they see you using your own bags, they’ll take notice and want to do the same in their lives.
If you’d like to reuse your plastic bags, they have hundreds of uses.
Ways to Reuse Your Plastic Bags
- One of the most popular ways to reuse plastic bags is to use them as a trash bag.
- Place them in small trash barrels in the bathroom, bedrooms, cellar, and near the cat’s litter box.
Another popular use for them is to use them as doggy poop bags. If you’re going out for a walk, bring along a couple of these bags.
- You can also reuse plastic bags as packaging. If you’re shipping out an item on eBay or shipping something to a friend, the bags can act as a cushion, much like packing peanuts, if you use enough of them.
- Keep a plastic bag in your car to contain all of the trash that accumulates in your car. Then, simply tie off, throw away, and use another bag.
- Donate your plastic bags to a local thrift store or charity. These prevent them from having to buy brand new bags.
- Post an ad on Craigslist for your bags. A local business may want to use them (you can’t beat free!).
- Use your bag to contain messy foods and leftovers that might otherwise leave spills. This is especially useful with soups and liquids.
- Think of things that you traditionally would use plastic for and replace them with your grocery bags. If you usually put your lawn leaves in trash bags, save up your bigger shopping bags and put the leaves in there instead.
- Wrap a bag around bags of flour, sugar, and other messy baking ingredients. This can help contain the mess and make for an easier cleanup.