Going Green with Reusable Shopping Bags
The prevalence of disposable paper and plastic bags is now causing more harm than convenience. Its contribution to the worldwide garbage pileup is staggering, and its harmful effect on the earth’s ecosystems is alarming. Fortunately, this awareness is starting to yield positive results. Governments around the world are now taking action and implementing solutions by promoting eco-friendly products. These “green” alternatives to consumer products eliminate waste and protect the environment without sacrificing man’s increasing standards of living. Reusable shopping bags and other recycleable products provide a definitive solution to waste reduction.
Disposable paper bags may be biodegradable, but don’t forget that its production requires the need for raw materials from the earth’s resources. The manufacturing of paper bags requires four times as much energy and twenty times more water than plastic bags. In the United States alone, 10 billion grocery paper bags are used every year, using an equivalent of 14 million trees. This further aggravates global warming since trees are the major absorbers of greenhouse gases. Ironically, the manufacture of paper bags lead to more production of greenhouse gases and emit 70 percent more than the production of plastic bags. Paper bags are also not durable and water resistant, so it is likely that it goes straight to the trash bin after a single use, taking up more space in landfills.
Along with the contribution of disposable plastic bags to the earth’s waste problem, the production uses an essential amount of raw materials as well. Every year up to 100 million barrels of oil, a non-renewable resource, are used to produce and supply plastic bags around the world. Like paper bags, the production also causes significant emission of greenhouse gases, contributing to the worsening problem of global warming.
It is reported that only less than three percent of plastic bags are recycled. This may be due to the labor-intensive processes needed and the higher cost of production using recycled resins compared to the production of new plastic bags. It also takes around 1000 years for plastic to be fully decomposed, so every year billions and billions of more plastic wastes are added to our environment, filling up more space. It will seem that the sensible choice is to simply lessen the production of plastic bags in the first place. If production does not slow down, the earth can be covered in plastic in no time. To do so, everyone must opt to use reusable bags to be able to decrease the demand and production of disposable shopping bags.
Each person that will reuse a single shopping bag will help reduce the need for more than 20,000 plastic bags in a lifetime. Imagine the amount of garbage the earth that may be reduced and the natural resources that may saved if everyone used promotional bags. Together, everyone can fight global warming, marine life destruction, pollution, and the unsightly garbage accumulation. The earth’s preservation begins with taking a eco friendly bags on your next grocery shopping or trip to the mall.