While the reusable grocery bag is a benefit to the environment, the number that you collect over time may become a loss. Additionally, you must remember to use them regularly in order for reusable grocery bags to reduce landfill waste and keep both plastic and paper grocery bags out of the garbage.
Some Essential Facts about Reusable Grocery Bags in the Environment
There are some important facts about plastic grocery bags to consider when considering the switch from disposable to reusable grocery bags. Some of these include:
- A single plastic grocery bag takes anywhere between 15 and 1,000 years to break down in a landfill.
- In landfills, plastic bags photo-degrade rather than biodegrade, meaning they become smaller toxic pieces that soak into the soil, groundwater and further into the environment.
- Well over a million animals die annually in the United States from the ingestion of plastic.
- Plastic bags alone are over a tenth of the garbage that washes up on U.S. coastlines each year.
- The U.S. alone uses about 100 billion plastic bags annually, or 350-500 per person.
- The average time a single plastic grocery bag is used is for about 25 minutes.
- Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) statistics show that to date only about 2% of plastic bags are recycled in the United States.
Benefits of Using Reusable Grocery Bags
Now, there is also much to consider regarding the benefit of reusable shopping bags when making this change in order to help the environment. The benefits of reusable bags are incredible, especially with the single ability to keep all of that plastic away from the landfills, coastline, and out of the stomachs of animals nationwide. Some ways that the reusable bag is beneficial to include the following:
- A single reusable shopping bag lasts about 700 trips.
- An individual who uses reusable bags throughout an entire lifetime has the ability to keep over 22,000 plastic grocery bags out of landfills.
Considering these facts in comparison to the lifespan and damage done by the plastic bag and its degradation process there is much to be improved through the change to reusable grocery bags. If more effort we placed into the distribution of reusable bags by grocery stores, possibly the sale of them in bulk, or the end of using plastic bags at all, then progressive steps would be taken toward saving the environment.