Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Grab a reusable bag

I don't know how many times I've heard customers at the grocery store I work at chose to use paper bags because they are "better" for the environment. In reality, this is far from the truth.

Sure, paper is biodegradable right? Yes, and it is recyclable too. However, that's as far as the advantages go. Where do you think paper comes from? Trees! Aren't trees renewable? Of course, but they require years and years to mature. Cutting down all those forests to create bags has devastating effects on the creatures that live in that ecosystem. Plus, most companies who pledge to plant new trees typically grow pines, which aren't nearly as effective at removing CO2 from the air as other hardwood species.

The logging, transporting, and processing of paper bags requires fossil fuels to power the machines and produces pollution waste. In addition, paper bags weigh more than plastic, meaning it takes a large amount of energy to transport them anywhere. Even recycling the bags requires fossil fuel-powered machinery.

Plastic bags are not much better. They are made from petroleum (oil), and are not biodegradable.

So what's a shopper to do? It's easy- reusable bags! Many grocery stores such as Kroger and Ukrops' Grocers have begun to sell their own brand of bags at only about $0.99. Plus, some stores give you $0.05 back for every bag you use every time you shop. These durable, eco-friendly bags will pay themselves back in no time!

Reusable bags are actually becoming quite fashionable. Check out Ecobags and EnviroSax for some cute and chic options.

Next time you go to the supermarket, grab a reusable bag! It'll only take 10 seconds to pick one out, and it'll relieve your conscience to know that you will never need a paper or plastic bag again!

For more information about plastic vs. paper bags, go to GreenFeet.Net.

The image above is from PrettyPatrol.

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