Past research shows that there are about 8.3 billion tons of plastic in the world.
Unfortunately, about 6.3 billion tons of this plastic is already trash. Part of the reason for this is that half of the world's plastic is meant to be used only once.
Our world is drowning in plastic pollution, and it’s about time we should change our habits.
Yes, disposable plastic offers us convenience, durability, and flexibility. But, these plastic properties are the same ones that make the material bad for the environment.
So, what can you do to reduce your dependency on single-use plastic bags?
For starters, you can try using reusable bags, which are sustainable, eco-friendly, and cost-effective.
So, shall we talk more about the importance of choosing environmentally friendly reusable bags over one-time plastic bags?
Why Are Plastic Bags a Problem?
Most of us use plastic bags even though we know they are bad for the environment. In fact, plastic bags are one of the common items in our litter system.
Negative Impact of Plastic Bags
Disposable plastic bags are used to carry shopping and other produce, and then they’re disposed of.
At the very least, this plastic waste is unsightly. However, it’s also a danger to the environment.
- Ocean Pollution
One of the major environmental concerns related to disposable plastic is marine pollution. Plastic is a key waste in the ocean.
Most sea animals ingest tiny pieces of this plastic waste, which blocks their digestive systems, leading to death. For instance, 52% of all sea turtles are reported to have ingested plastic.
Sea animals also get entangled in plastic waste, which leads to drowning.
Moreover, plastic waste in the ocean further breaks down into tiny microplastics, which small fish eat. These small bits of plastic later end up on our plates, causing an adverse effect on our health.
Additionally, floating plastic bags accumulate, leading to unsightly ocean gyres and garbage patches. Also, plastic litter clogs drainage systems, contributing to floods and water-borne diseases.
- Land and Air Pollution
Most plastic waste ends up in landfills.
Unfortunately, plastic isn’t biodegradable. As a result, toxic substances found in plastic such as BPA and BPS get into the soil, leading to pollution.
Besides, air pollution occurs when this waste reacts with weather elements or is burned.
- Negative Impact on Your Health
Plastic food containers, bottles, and bags contain chemical fillers associated with health problems such as cancers, infertility, autism, and ADH.
Besides, microplastics often enter the human body through inhalation or ingestion, which can cause many health illnesses, including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and inflammatory bowel disease.
The extraction of plastic from fossil fuels further releases toxic gas into the air and water. These toxins affect the health of animals and humans, as can be observed in the health of communities neighboring plastic refining industries.
Disposable plastic bags are light and are easily blown by the wind, littering the environment.
These bags are frequently caught on trees or end up floating on oceans and rivers, becoming an eyesore.
Paper Bags vs. Plastic Bags vs. Reusable Bags
To get an idea of whether reusable bags are better than other bags, let’s look at plastic bags vs reusable bags vs. paper bags.
Paper bags, compared to other grocery bags, have some advantages.
For starters, they’re easy to recycle, which limits their negative environmental impact. Also, since they’re biodegradable, they decompose quickly.
Unfortunately, paper bags require lots of resources to produce. For instance, manufacturing one paper bag takes four times more energy than it takes to produce a plastic bag.
Besides, the fertilizers and chemicals used in the growth of plants to produce these bags are harmful to the environment.
Studies also show that cotton paper bags need to be reused 3 to 43 times to neutralize their environmental effect. Unfortunately, paper bags are the least durable of the three bagging options we have, making it almost impossible to use a cotton paper bag more than once.
A notable advantage of plastic bags compared to other shopping bags is that they are affordable. Plastic bags are also durable.
Further, grocery store plastic bags are often made of high-density polyethylene, resulting in less carbon and toxic emission during production compared to the manufacture of paper bags.
Unfortunately, plastic bags, although recyclable, are hard to recycle. Most plastic bags end up in litter, and since they don’t biodegrade, they endanger humans, marine, and wildlife.
How many times do you have to use a reusable bag? There are many types of reusable bags which are made of different materials. Some of the reusable bags materials are more sustainable than others. For instance, reusable bags made of nonwoven polypropylene only need to be reused eleven times to neutralize their effect on the environment.
Another thing concerning reusable bag facts is that they are durable and can be used repeatedly. This helps cut down on the amount of plastic litter in the environment.
Reusable bags are also washable and can be used for multiple purposes. Not to mention that these bags are affordable, and since they last for years, they save you money in the long run.
Benefits of Reusable Silicone ZipBags
When it comes to choosing reusable bags, silicone bags come highly recommended.
Silicone bags are not only environmentally friendly, but they’re also food safe. So, if you’re wondering what you can use to store your snacks or carry them on the go, consider using the Two Pillars silicon ZipBags.
Some of the notable benefits of reusable bags include:
- Good for the environment - One of the crucial reusable bags benefits is that they’re eco-friendly. The Two Pillars reusable zip bags are reusable, unlike plastic freezer bags that are used once and then end up in landfills.
- Non-toxic - Silicone bags don’t have chemical fillers commonly found in plastic bags. Besides, silicon zip bags don’t react with foods or beverages. They also don’t produce toxic fumes when exposed to hot or cold temperatures.
- Airtight and leak-proof - Two Pillars silicon reusable zip bags are sturdier than your ordinary freezer bags. They have flat bottoms, meaning they can hold sauces and soups. They also don’t flop easily or leak. So, you can use them to store other delicate products such as strawberries and grapes.
- One-time purchase - Since your silicon zip bags are reusable, they save you money. You don’t have to keep buying new ones over and over again. One purchase of the Two Pillars reusable zip bags is enough to last you many years.
- Microwave and freezer safe - Microwaving or freezing food in plastic bags can leach toxic chemicals into your food. However, silicone zip bags are 100% microwave and freezer safe. Besides, Two Pillars silicone disposable zip lock bags are oven and dishwasher-safe.
Tips for Getting Good Use Out of Your Bags
Now that you know that reusable bags are good for you and the planet, it's time you make the most of them.
Here are a few tips to help you put these bags to good use.
- Only accumulate the number of bags you’ll use. If you have too many of them, donate some for reuse
- Keep your reusable bags in the car, purse, by the door, or somewhere convenient, so you don’t forget them when going to the store
- If you forget your reusable bag, skip buying another one if you don’t need it
- Follow your reusable bag’s care instructions if you want it to last long
How to Recycle Reusable Bags
If you have too many reusable bags, and you’re wondering what to do with them, you can recycle or reuse them in the following ways.
- Reuse them at home – Rather than buying an extra storage bin or another basket, consider using your reusable bag. Such bags will slide easily even in small spaces.
- Donate them – Most thrift and food stores accept reusable bags. Schools and libraries also need them. You can also consider donating some of them to charities or a recycling hub.
- Carry a recyclable bag everywhere – Most of us only bring our recyclable bags to the grocery store. However, the bags can be helpful during any shopping trip. So, rather than buying a new bag every time you go shopping, why don’t you get in the habit of carrying your recyclable bag everywhere.
Steps You Can Take to Help the Environment
If you’re wondering how else you can help protect the earth, here are some suggestions.
- Reduce, reuse, and recycle
- Educate others on the importance of conserving the environment
- Choose sustainable products
- Shop wisely and remember to always use a reusable shopping bag
- Plant more trees
- Don’t use toxic chemicals at home
- Bike or walk more to reduce your carbon footprint
Clearly, there are numerous reasons to opt for reusable bags. Reusable bags are eco-friendly, protect our wildlife, keep our cities and oceans litter-free, and are good for your health too. Hopefully, you’ve made the switch from single-use plastic bags to reusable bags by now.