The impact of single-use plastic grocery bags on the environment has been one of the hot topics for debate for a long time now. These bags have met much criticism due to the impact they have on the environment. By now, many governments across the world have already passed laws banning or limiting single-use plastic bags. Reusable plastic grocery bags are gaining traction. Although many users have been using these bags for several years now, there is still a large segment of users who are skeptical about its impact on the environment. Are reusable plastic grocery bags good or bad for the environment? This post aims to answer this question effectively.
Reusable Plastic Grocery Bags and Their Impact on Environment Analyzed
Single-use plastic grocery bags or disposable plastic grocery bags are handy, cheaper than most other grocery bag materials, but they are extremely harmful to the environment. Often, they end up in landfills and break down into small toxic particles that get mixed up with water, soil, and pollute the environment. Let’s see how reusable plastic grocery bags are better alternatives to these bags.
- Efficient Waste Management: According to a study, a person discards the single-use plastic bag after 12 minutes of use. This adds to the waste on landfills that do not decompose for several years and possesses a big problem for waste management services. Many times, they get entangled in recycling equipment, too. On the other hand, reusable plastic grocery bags are used at least 5-6 times before discarding. This enables efficient waste management for waste management services, local authorities, and users.
- Energy Saving: The production of reusable plastic grocery bags is an energy-intensive process. Studies show that the energy required to produce a single reusable plastic grocery bags is equivalent to 28 disposable plastic bags or eight single-use paper shopping bags. However, if a person uses a reusable plastic shopping bag at least once a week and in total six reusable plastic shopping bags through the year, they can easily cut down on the carbon footprint. This is because by using only five to six reusable plastic grocery shopping bags, a person can cut down on 520 single-use plastic bags and thus reduce energy expenditure.
- Resource Conservation: A report by Waste Management Northwest suggests that twelve million barrels of oil are used in the US every year for plastic bag production. Another report by SPREP.org adds that the amount of gasoline required to produce 14 single-use plastic grocery bags is equivalent to the amount of fuel needed to drive 1 mile. By using reusable plastic grocery bags, you can easily cut down on resources, too.
- Save Wildlife: Another report by SPREP.org suggests that every year 100,000 marine animals die due to the consumption of plastic bags in oceans or other water bodies. The plastic bags do not decompose easily and being made of lightweight plastic, they may even get entangled on trees near dumping yards. Small animals and birds may get entangled in them sometimes even causing deaths. So, by using reusable plastic grocery shopping bags you are not only sending less plastic waste to the environment but also contributing to the quality of wildlife and marine life.
- Add to Soil Quality: Some may ask how reusable plastic grocery bags may add to soil quality. Then the answer is although most reusable plastic grocery shopping bags are made of environment-friendly elements, they may take years to disintegrate completely. You can use biodegradable reusable plastic grocery shopping bags. These bags are made of post-industrial waste or renewable raw materials. Owing to advancement in plastic technologies, today, you can find biodegradable plastic bags made of cellulose-based plastic polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs). These bags decompose under sunlight and they emit eco-friendly byproducts. There are no carbon emissions involved in the degradation of such bags. Although they may cost you little more than the regular reusable plastic grocery bags, you can contribute to the environment while running your household errands.
Now, after reading this, it is for you to decide if reusable plastic grocery bags are good or bad for the environment. Beware, that you may also find various cheap variants that pass off as quality reusable plastic grocery bags or reusable plastic degradable grocery bags. They may not serve the purpose, and would only add to the waste. To avoid this, you must source reusable plastic grocery bags from trusted suppliers like ANS Plastic Corp. The company has been manufacturing reusable plastic grocery bags and biodegradable plastic t-shirt grocery bags for several years. The biodegradable plastic bags utilize the oxo-biodegradation technology that helps them convert into environment-friendly biodegradable substances.