22 September 2007

Paper or plastic or reusable?

A movement of some sort against the use of disposable plastic bags seems to have started over in the United Kingdom, according to this article in today's edition of the Guardian. Apparently, many stores and towns have banned or considering banning the use of disposable plastic bags. Modbury claims to be the first town in the UK to be "plastic bag free". I hope they will keep up with it.

Over here on this side of the Atlantic, the large grocery stores I shop at give a small credit, usually 3-5 cents per bag, when the customers bring their own bags, whether they are paper or plastic. For the last 3 years or so we've been putting our groceries into reusable bags whenever we shop at the Whole Foods Market (or at other stores). The initial cost of the bags was something like $2/bag. I shop there almost every weekend. So, the use of reusable bags starts profiting the earth almost immediately and the 5 cents/bag credit the Whole Foods gives starts profiting the customers after a year.

Plastic bags used once and then thrown away waste resources and pollute the environment, not just on land but also in the oceans. Would you consider switching to reusable bags for the sake of our earth?

reusable bags
Reusable bags filled with all sorts of goodies.


Anonymous said...

Being very green conscious I always make good use of mine, with a hole in each of the bottom corners they make really great underpants and save on the heat and detergent pollution of washing. Not that I ever used to wash my underpants much anyhow.

Tristram Brelstaff said...

The amount of plastic in a carrier bags is normally much less than that in the packaging of the items it is used to carry, so I fear that banning plastic carrier bags will only have small effect on the amount of plastic pollution. Reducing unnecessary packaging might be more effective.

However, your post has got me thinking about the problem and what I can do.

Clare said...

Yes, there's talk about a tax on bags in some quarters too and already the largest supermarket in the UK - Tesco - gives 'points' for every bag reused. Their flimsy bags cannot really be reused however - sometimes they tear and spill their contents. Your more robust bags look like a much better idea and shopping at a wholefoods market rather than a supermarket is a good idea too.

burning silo said...

We've been using cloth bags for some time. Unfortunately, at the store where we shop most often, it seems that many people are still using plastic even though there is a 5 cent credit for each bag that is not needed. Quite apart from the environmental reasons for using cloth bags, they also hold more and are sturdy and not prone to ripping apart half way up the stairs to the house. I can't figure out why more people haven't swithced over.

Brenda said...

Reuse, reuse!
Check out this website:

For those who feel the reusable bags stores offer are not sturdy enough, it's neither difficult nor terribly expensive to make your own reusable bags using remnants of heavy canvas from fabric stores.