Plastic bags are an awful invention. The price of this convenience is incredible. They are made from ethylene (a byproduct of petroleum or natural gas) and create environmental havoc from the beginning to the end of their life cycle. The production of plastic bags emits environmental waste, the bags themselves leak chemicals onto food and people, and the bags never biodegrade sometimes trapping biodegradable material forever. Finally,
plastic bags are so lightweight and aerodynamic they are easily picked up and carried by the wind. They can escape from trash bins, recycle bins, garbage trucks, and landfills, and end up littering the landscape. (Beth Terry, Plastic Free - How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can Too,49)Here they cause harm for a very long time and can be ingested by wildlife. I have been using cloth bags for my groceries for a long time now. However - there are three areas where I was still using plastic bags that I have recently replaced with great reusable substitutes.
1. My Credo Bag Ecoshopper.
This bag is made of nylon but I decided to invest in it as its strength and water resistance ensures it will last MANY years. It folds up to be stashed in its own pouch, the size of a wallet, so it fits in my purse ready to be used any time. Credo Bags are a Canadian company who produce most of their products in Canada (not the ecoshopper though) and have bags available in a variety of eco materials such as organic cotton, hemp, and bamboo.
2. Reusable Muslin Bulk Bag.
I bought two of these from a great etsy store called ThisChild. They are quite pretty and I use them when I go to the bulk barn instead of using those flimsy plastic bags you rip from a roll. I love the draw string and there's a ribbon tag to attach any stickers or hand-tags a store provides to mark the items encased within.
3. Reusuable Eco Friendly Cotton Produce Bags.
Another area where I was using those rip-from-a-roll plastic bags was when I bought produce from a grocery store. I hate unnecessary packaging - so I tried to not use these bags - but sometimes I cringed and had to keep food from bruising or falling out of the cart. Not any more! I got these beauties (as well as some with rabbits screen printed on them) from another etsian ohlittlerabbit. They took eccobags and screen-printed their designs on the front. I find the funkier my bags are the more proud I am to show them off. Maybe they will inspire others?
However, IF you live in my area and find yourself with plastic bags we do have a plastic bag recycling program. Of course it is better if you and I can eliminate bags all together, but nobody's perfect, and I still have a stash that needs to go.
One last bit I couldn't resist sharing: The MARCH AGAINST MONSANTO last week went well and my daughter participated in her first protest. Here she is chanting with me :)