Paper or Plastic? Tips to Reduce the Use of Plastic Bags

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Globe in plastic bagThe average grocery store goes through thousands of plastic bags everyday. At home, consumers use hundreds of zip lock and sandwich plastic bags to bag lunches, store food in the refrigerator, etc. All this adds up to an unbelievable amount of plastic waste. In fact, according to the Wall Street Journal, the United States goes through 100 billion plastic grocery bags annually!

Plastic bags endanger wildlife

Disposable plastic bags don’t only increase the amount of waste we produce, they also endanger animals that can get snared in them and suffocate.

But plastic can be recycled, right?

Yes, plastic can be recycled, but remember that for any material that is recycled there will be a byproduct of waste that cannot be recycled. There is no way to recycle 100% of something and thereby create no waste.

That being said, it’s not very difficult for you to make a difference and curtail your plastic bag use.

Tips to reduce the use of plastic bags

Here are some tips to reduce your use of plastic bags:

  • Use re-usable and washable plastic containers (Tupperware or Pyrex) instead of disposable plastic bags to store food and pack lunches.
  • Use re-usable cloth grocery bags and decline plastic bags at your local grocery store checkout
  • Use self-checkout to reduce bag usage, and decline bags when you can carry your grocery items in your hands

Ways to utilize the plastic bags you already have

For the plastic bags you already have collected, here’s ways to use them instead of trashing them:

  • Use your plastic bags to pick up animal (dog) poop
  • Donate the plastic bags to animal shelters or dog parks
  • Use them in place of paper when doing work around the house such as painting
  • Keep some in your car in case of emergencies
  • Use them to collect trash when you’re camping – and take the trash with you
  • Return them to your local grocery store – they can be re-used and sometimes recycled
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