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Plastic Bags Bad . . . Paper Bags Better . . . Reusable Bags Best
Last Updated on:  06/25/2015 06:31 AM

The 3 R's:  Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Last Updated on:  04/07/2016 03:45 PM

Reduce  Reuse Recycle
  - Ideas for Reducing Trash   - Think Repurpose   - Why Recycle
  - Eliminate Plastic Shopping Bags   - Reuse or re-purpose stuff  Recycling Facts
  - Energy Saving Tips     -  Plastic Recycling Codes  

Why are you still using plastic bags?

You are at the register in your favorite store and the cashier asks: 
 "Will it be paper or plastic?"   Your answer: "Neither, I brought by own bags."

It is no wonder that plastic shopping bags continually gained in popularity since their introduction about 25 years ago.  Their attractive qualities to consumers are that plastic bags are free, they are light weight and are water resistant.  They make great liners for small trash cans. We use them everyday.  I found a stat on the web that said 4-5 trillion of plastic bags (trash bags to grocery sacks) were made  in 2002.  I also found that plastic is a by-product of oil refining.  The creation of plastic uses about 4% of the total world's oil production.
Some interesting facts about plastic bags
  • Plastic bags are a product of petroleum.
  • In the late 50's plastic "baggies" were first used.  A few years later, plastic garbage bags became available.
  • North America and Western Europe account for nearly 80 percent of plastic bag use—though the bags are increasingly common in developing countries as well.
  • A quarter of the plastic bags used in wealthy nations are now produced in Asia.
  • Each year, Americans throw away some 100 billion polyethylene plastic bags. (Only 0.6 percent of plastic bags are recycled.)
  • The Irish have been known to call the ever-present bags their “national flag”; South Africans have dubbed them the “national flower.”
Eliminate the use of plastic shopping bags.   These simple steps will help:
  • Purchase, or better yet make, reusable cloth shopping bags.
  • Put them in your car or brief case or purse so you remember to use them.
  • If you don't carry them with you, then write R2TRCB on top of your grocery list.  R2TRCB = Remember to Take Reusable Cloth Bag.
  • Give reusable cloth bags to your friends and encourage them to use them.
  • Shop at stores that offer a credit for using your own Reusable Cloth Bag.  The list of stores giving credit is growing.  If your favorite store isn't "with the program" talk to the store manager.
  • Go at least one week without taking a new plastic bags.
  • Carry out small purchases without putting them in a plastic bag.
  • Find a local store that recycle plastic bags.  Look for "bin" in which you can return bags.  Most supermarkets have these bins in the entrance area.
Top 10 Myths about Plastic Grocery Bags - the other side of the argument

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Links to Articles about Plastic Bags

Keep Plastic Bags out of Landfills by Sitting on ThemPlastic grocery bags seem to multiply like Tribbles. You use them to store things; you use them as garbage bags.  Click on the link to see what unique product Kitsch, a retailer in the UK, is offering.... Read More
Campaign Against the Plastic Plague Background Info: from Earth Resource Foundation.  Plastic bags are everywhere! Everyday, we are handed countless plastic bags: when we go to the grocery store, retail clothing store, book store, restaurants, etc. Yes, sometimes, plastic bags are convenient, as they are water resistant and light and inexpensive compared to paper bags. Most of the time, plastic bags are superfluous and avoidable....  Read More
Plastic Left Holding the Bag as Environmental Plague:  by Joan Lowy.  Imagine a world without plastic shopping bags. It could be the future. There is a growing international movement to ban or discourage the use of plastic bags because of their environmental effects. Countries from Ireland to Australia are cracking down on the bags and action is beginning to stir in the United States.... Read More
Plastic or Paper:  from the Washington Post.  A useful comparison chart of paper versus plastic bags.... Read More
Banish the Bags: Used for minutes but last 1,000 years... The life cycle of plastic bags:  from Associated Newspapers Limited in London.   They are handed out in their billions, used for a few minutes then discarded to pollute the earth for hundreds of years. Here we trace the life cycle of a plastic bag ....Read More
Are Plastic Grocery Bags Sacking the Environment?: by John Roach for National Geographic News.  The "paper or plastic" conundrum that vexed earnest shoppers throughout the 1980s and 90s is largely moot today. Most grocery store baggers don't bother to ask anymore. They drop the bananas in one plastic bag as they reach for another to hold the six-pack of soda. The pasta sauce and noodles will get one too, as will the dish soap....Read More
San Francisco Plastic Bag Ban Interests Other Cities: from NPR by by David Gorn.  Cities around the world are moving to ban plastic shopping bags to protect the environment. A roundup: ...Read More
Plastic-Bag Bans Gaining Momentum Around the World: by John Roach for National Beijing plastic bags pictureGeographic News, April 4, 2008.  From Australia to the U.K., and all across the U.S., politicians and corporations are pondering banning or taxing plastic bags. A hefty surcharge that began in 2003 in Ireland has spurred the public there to spurn plastic bags almost completely in favor of reusable cloth totes. Plastic sacks are also taxed in Italy and Belgium. Grocery shoppers must pay for the bags in Switzerland, Germany, and Holland. Spain, Norway, and now the U.K. are considering a ban or tax as well.   ...Read More
Pressure Builds to Ban Plastic Bags in Stores:  from the New York Times by Ian UrbinaANNAPOLIS, Md., July 23 — Paper or plastic? It is a question that has long dogged grocery shoppers. But the debate may soon be settled for this maritime city, where a bill aimed at protecting marine life would ban plastic bags from all retail stores.  ...Read More
Whole Foods to ban plastic bags company-wide: from The Houston Business Journal.  After meeting with Austin city officials for several months about strategies to voluntarily reduce and recycle plastic bag use, Whole Foods Market Inc. has abruptly decided to eliminate the use of plastic bags in its Austin stores.  Whole Foods (NASDAQ: WFMI) on Wednesday announced it will immediately stop offering plastic bags at checkouts in two Austin stores and that it intends to ban plastic bags company-wide by early 2008.   ...Read More

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