How to decrease your plastic bag use

Posted by: on Oct 6th, 2009


Americans throw away 100 billion plastic bags yearly.

Made out of low density polyethylene, they are among the products that are most commonly used by consumers due to their light weight, availability, low cost and huge variety of types.

However, apart from these advantages for use, plastic bags are utterly dangerous for the environment. Their production process consume large amounts of non-renewable petrolium. They are not biodegradable, ie. they can not be  degrade by biological activity, such as enzymatic action, altering the chemical structure of the material.

Morover, only 1-2 percent of plastic bags in USA are recycled, the rest end up in landfills polluting the soil and water, where needless to say they pose a serious danger for wild animals and birds.

Do you need all those plastic?

Most people think that plastic bags are an indispensible part in our daily lives. We grab them everywhere, in malls, grocery, bookstores… For the last one year, I started resisting plastic bag offers in all such occasions and drastically reduced my use.

I carried everywhere a large, yet light weight and foldable cotton bag in my briefcase. At home I emptied it and put it back. Solely carrying around a cotton bag accounted for at least 10 plastics bags a week which adds much up to over 500 a year. It is no minor number…

If nothing you can simply ask for paper. Most of the bigger stores have them. In smaller ones, like most grossery shops in Turkey, you can alternatively envelope what you buy -such as bread and other small stuff- in old newspapers.

The two biggest challenges were garbage and cat litter. As I decrease the amount of plastic bags I carry home, I realized how much I needed them for garbage and litter. Enfolding them in newspaper wouldn’t work, as you might guess (even though some even recommended that to me).

Luckily we have some compostable options to buy, such as BioBag Biodegradable Recyclable Bags. As you pay for what can be for free, you automatically reconsider if you should take garbage away now, or can that wait until tomorrow when it is really full. An easy way to go green even further, huh?

3 thoughts on “How to decrease your plastic bag use

  1. Haren Sanghavi says:

    Well it is a belief that not using Plastics can save the earth. It is littering that creates more hindrance. If people stop littering and learn to reuse Plastic Carry Bags the same way as you suggest reusing the cotton bag it can create wonders.

    Secondly the important benefit of Plastic is that it is recyclable umpteen number of times.

    Thirdly using Paper bags will lead to cutting down trees. Paper has very limited life.

    There are many reasons for using Plastics.

    Please change the slogan to “SAY YES TO PLASTICS”


    1. Umbertus Eco says:

      Very interessting point of view

      [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.

  2. i also agree with what haren said…. i would also like to suggest some of my opinion about the topic… using of cloth bags will also help a bit in the reduction of plastic bag production..
    and even a cloth bag is more comfortable than paper bags, in case of carrying heavy things… and that too if the cloth bags are made from waste cloths like used dress, curtains etc…

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