Benefits of Using Eco-Friendly & Reusable Shopping Bags
For the longest time, disposable plastic bags were seen as the most convenient option available.
But with the growing availability of reusable, eco-friendly shopping bags and the rising costs of using disposable bags, more and more people are turning to the alternative.
Now, there are not only environmental reasons, but also economic and practical reasons to make the change.
Something every household can agree on is the need to cut costs and live a little more frugally.
Beyond the costs of disposable plastic bags nationwide, there are plenty of ways that using eco-friendly alternatives saves us all money.
- The plastic bag tax enforced all across the UK means that shops are required to charge 5p for every plastic bag used by a customer. The average person before the 5p tax would use 13,000 plastic bags in a lifetime. That’s a lot of 5ps.
- In contrast, the average reusable bag costs between 50p and £1 and has a lifetime comparable to 500 plastic bags.
- Cloth bags are easy to wash and disinfect, so there is no need to buy a new one if there’s a spill inside and they are kept safe for carrying groceries time and time again.
- Some stores are even starting to offer incentives such as loyalty points for customers who bring their own reusable shopping bags.
- It costs all of us money to clean up the plastic bags that litter our streets, parks, and country roads.
The bags we buy are a practical tool. Any alternative that’s less convenient or less useful simply wouldn’t work.
But disposable bag usage is dropping precisely because reusable shopping bags have tons of advantages.
- Collapsible as they are, a few reusable bags take up a lot less storage space than the 40 plastic bags the average household kept in 2016.
- Much larger and sturdier than plastic bags, so you are able to carry more per bag and use even fewer bags a result.
- As they are sturdier, reusable bags are also less likely to split or to tear if caught on a snag such as a nail compared to flimsy pieces of plastic.
- Large, soft handles are much less uncomfortable than plastic digging into your hand.
- With flat bottoms, reusable shopping bags are a lot easier to organise your shopping and to set down without them tipping over and sending your groceries everywhere.
- These bags are made of strong materials, so any leaks or spills inside the bag are kept inside the bag instead of making a mess all over your kitchen floor.
- Reusable shopping bags are even making waves a fashion accessory, with plenty of different designs and aesthetics to keep you looking stylish no matter how much shopping you have weighing you down.
As a society, we are all learning to do our part to better sustain our environment. What is the real impact on the world of using reusable instead of disposable?
- Plastic rubbish contributes to millions of wildlife deaths each year, including birds and sea animals that ingest or are entangled by them.
- Seven plastic bags use as much petroleum as the average car driving a kilometre, using the precious natural resources that will affect not just our generation, but every generation to come.
- While some stores are starting initiatives to recycle old plastic bags, the cost of recycling them outweighs the benefits so many disposable bags still end up in landfills.
- It can take plastic bags from 15 years up to a staggering 1000 years to decompose.
- When they do photo-degrade, plastic bags contaminate the soil and water.
- Reusable bags come in a variety of different materials including canvas, Jute, and synthetic fibres, many of which are biodegradable.
- Eco-friendly bags are an easy way to not only support environmentally friendly practices but to show it as well. It’s an easy way to educate children and to signpost to friends and family the importance of making little efforts throughout daily life to be more responsible.
- Larger, sturdier bags even make it easier to recycle more. You can use them to carry lots of recyclables to your local recycling spot with a lot more ease.
Many large chains and smaller shops alike are offering reusable, eco-friendly shopping bags that are more convenient, save you money, and have much less of an impact on the environment.
You have the choice to instantly make those changes for both your own good and the good of the world. The next time you’re offered, say no to a disposable plastic bag and pick up a reusable shopping bag instead.