Several years ago I went to a market within Saanen, Switzerland and, much to a chagrin, they did not provide a handbag for me to carry my groceries to the chalet. I purchased the string bag on the spot, and after that I never again forgot to take my own bag to the store in Europe.
More recently, while visiting my relatives in Holland, I noticed that the cousin, like many other Dutch consumers, brought cardboard boxes each time she made a trip to the store. To get larger items or quantities, boxes work even better than string or canvas bags.
My bicycle is equipped with two large saddle bags that hold two giant canvas hand bags of groceries or other items. For larger things like watermelons I actually hook-up my trusty bike trolley or use my handy personal fold-up shopping cart which I purchased for approximately $20.
I also keep a large durable attractive straw basket, an old back-pack and a variety of recycled bags plus cloth bags permanently in the car. Storing the plastic and paper hand bags you already have on hand immediately in the car rather than stuffing them in a drawer and risk forgetting to bring all of them when you run to the market, is one of the easiest things you can do for the environment.
Whether I walk, bicycle or drive, I make sure to have a supply of cloth hand bags on hand.
It takes 12 million barrels of oil to produce the plastic bags Americans use each year. In addition , about 15 million trees are cut down to produce paper for paper bags. You can help reduce oil consumption and save trees simply by bringing your own bag on your next trip to your local store.
Each sturdy cloth or canvas reusable shopping bag you use has got the potential to eliminate hundreds, if not countless numbers, of plastic and paper luggage over its lifetime.
Ideally, most cities should adopt a Plastic material Bag Reduction Ordinance. The facts plus figures regarding the true cost of plastic material bags are well-documented on web sites like Resusablebags. com which comes with a counting clock of plastic bags consumed this year. One million bags a minute are consumed, becoming garbage and choking marine mammals.
Being a plastic-bag-free City is one more important environmental step towards becoming a sustainable green city. Local stores can look to shops like the Swedish furniture company, IKEA for ways to encourage customers to consider to bring their own re-usable bags. IKEA is charging shoppers in their Oughout. S. stores five cents for every plastic bag. The move to charging for a bag helps to remind a lot more people to bring a reusable sack. Stores should also credit customers five cents for each recycled bag used in bagging their groceries.
Since it may take many months to pass a local plastic material bag ordinance, customers can motivate their favorite stores to take the lead and adopt bag reduction procedures such as the above as soon as possible. There are numerous other ways to motivate customers to bring their very own bags, boxes and baskets. An additional step used by some stores is to provide a bin where customers can use re-cycled paper and plastic bags brought in by other customers, for those times they forget to bring their own.
All stores could have a display with the Best Facts on the true cost and environmental impact of paper plus plastic bags.
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– Each year, an estimated 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags are consumed globally. That comes out to over one million per minute. Billions end up as litter every year.
– According to the EPA, over 380 billion plastic bags, sacks and wraps are consumed in the Oughout. S. each year.
– According to The Wall Street Journal, the U. S. goes through 100 billion plastic shopping bags each year. (Estimated cost to retailers will be $4 billion)
– According to the market publication Modern Plastics, Taiwan utilizes 20 billion bags a year-900 per person.
– Hundreds of thousands associated with sea turtles, whales and other marine mammals die every year from consuming discarded plastic bags mistaken with regard to food.
– Plastic bags tend not to biodegrade, they photodegrade-breaking down into smaller sized and smaller toxic bits contaminating soil and waterways and entering the food web when animals unintentionally ingest.
– Windblown plastic hand bags are so prevalent in Africa that a cottage industry has sprung up harvesting bags and using them to weave hats, and even bags. According to the BBC, one group harvests 30, 1000 per month.
– According to David Barnes, a marine scientist with the Uk Antarctic Survey, plastic bags have gone “from being rare within the late 80s and early 90s to being almost everywhere from Spitsbergen 78° North [latitude] to Falklands 51° South [latitude].
– Plastic bags are usually among the 12 items of debris frequently found in coastal cleanups, according to the not for profit Center for Marine Conservation.
Remember: Each high quality reusable shopping bag you use has the potential to eliminate 100s, if not thousands, of plastic and paper bags over its life time.
SUZA FRANCINA, the former mayor associated with Ojai, California, is a writer, pet advocate, and spokesperson on environmental issues. She is also a Certified Iyengar Yoga Instructor and pioneer in the field of teaching yoga to seniors. The girl first book, Yoga for People Over 50, was published in 1977. She is author of The New Yoga for People Over 50 (Health Communications, Inc., 1997); Yoga and the Knowledge of Menopause (HCI, 2003); and The New Yoga for Healthy Getting older (HCI 2007).