Plastic Bags — so passé!
Plastic bags do not make for a happy and healthy Planet Earth. Between 500 billion and a trillion plastic grocery bags are used each year — and each one will take up to 1,000 years to degrade. Next question: where are all these bags going to take their sweet time degrading?
There are masses of plastic bags the size of Connecticut floating in the ocean. Sea turtles and other marine animals mistake the plastic bags for food and eat them. If you’re needing some extra incentive to kick the plastic-bag habit, you might want to consider a variation of the old adage “you are what you eat.” These days, you are whatever you eat eats. If you eat fish, you may be eating fish that have ingested plastic. Nasty.
Some tips to cut back on plastic bag use:
At the Grocery Store
Re-usable totes and duffels. Stores including Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods encourage customers to make the switch to re-usable bags and offer a variety for purchase, for as little as 99 cents per bag. I keep my reusable bags in the trunk of my car, so they’re always handy… for use at other stores, too!
I’m a fan of Simplehuman’s biodegradable trashcan liners, but I’ve found some other options:
· Biobag: 100% biodegradable and compostable. Available in “tall kitchen” (13 gallon) and “leaf and lawn” (30 gallon) sizes. I checked my local Whole Foods today, and they had both sizes in stock.
· Eco-Smart: also 100% biodegradable and compostable. Available at your local CVS Pharmacy, the Vitamin Shoppe, and Amazon.com.
· Seventh Generation: These bags are made from recycled plastic (55% recycled, 16% post-consumer; the larger size is 80% recycled plastic). Any new parents out there? Check out Seventh Generation’s diapers while you’re shopping!
I’ve always re-used plastic grocery bags for “poop patrol.” However, I’ve just discovered 100% biodegradable dog poop bags, so I’m going to give them a try! Here’s the scoop:
· Poopbags.com: The bags come in two sizes — regular and jumbo-size for big dogs. Cat guardians might want to try the biodegradable cat pan liners, also available on the site. Apparently, the liners can be good especially for cats with allergies. Who knew?
· Flush Puppies: Flushable dog poop bags, which are designed to dissolve in water. Available at e3living.com
· Repellum Dog Poop Bags: made by Eco-Smart.
If plastic bags still find their way into your house, make re-using them a rule… In our own home, we have the grocery bag holder by Simplehuman. This sleek stainless steel holder stores up to 30 plastic grocery bags.
Bonus tip! While we’re on the subject of plastic, I want to quickly mention the problem posed by those plastic rings holding together most 6-packs of bottle and cans. We don’t want marine animals eating plastic — and we don’t want them getting entangled in plastic, either. Many animals are unable to free themselves once they become entangled, and some even strangle themselves to death. So, before throwing away any 6-pack rings, please remember to take scissors in hand and cut apart the rings. A few seconds with the scissors can mean saving a life.