Amazing Earth,  Lifestyle

Why I switched to reusable shopping bags

Most of my life I have been exposed to the idea of recycling, by my dad, Bob. He used to always recycle our cans. He would take me to the recycling plant with him when he dropped them off to collect his money and explain to me how the cans could be reused over and over again. At the time, glass was also being recycled. I even began to remember when my grandmother used to collect those at her place of business and turn those old coke bottles back in for coins. Scrap metal was collected as well. And I saw very little plastic containers. Now I cannot even imagine how we got along without plastic. I squeeze my brain to try to remember. I even asked my dad what we used to use to put our food in. I was thinking if we got along without it before we could get along without it now, right? I remember taking groceries home in paper bags too. Later, I started to hear about people hanging from the trees in other states and trying to keep the loggers from cutting them down. I was all for them, but scared to say so at that time. For fear of being called what they were called, Tree Huggers.

It seemed that they were just doing something out of this world to others at the time. Saving the world was all new. At least in this country. Then they came out with plastic bags. Perfect idea. No more tree cutting I thought. Who would have ever guessed that this thing called plastic would turn out to be such an awful thing? Now, it feels as if we are now doomed to live in a plastic world. I can barely figure out what to eat, or what to buy to avoid this thing called plastic. Now I am reading we are eating and breathing it too. It’s in our soil, our rain, our water.

Scary! What really topped it off for me was a program I watched on Alabama Public Television. On March 31, 2022, two public media organizations teamed up to examine a mounting crisis: plastic waste in the environment. Despite efforts spreading across the country to reduce the use of plastic, the plastics industry was discovered to be rapidly scaling up new production and promoting a familiar solution: recycling. Come to find out, it’s estimated that no more than 10 percent of plastic produced has ever been recycled. Eyeopener right? All of this time we were being told that it was ok for us to buy all of these plastic products because they could all be recycled. We bought into all of this story time when in reality I will repeat, no more than 10 percent of plastic produced has ever been recycled.

They have just been stacking this stuff up by the piles. Pressing it into squares or dumping it who knows where and filling our heads with a bunch of junk. The plastics industry thought that if we all believed in recycling than they could just keep pumping out the plastics and keep making money. And it worked! We have all been duped. But now we are facing one of the major environmental challenges of our time. How do we stop using plastic? 

It is not going to be easy I have to admit. We are all hooked on plastic. But I have been looking around for quite awhile and thinking it is time. Time for us all to step up and make a collective difference. After all, it all adds up. 

According to reusethisbag.com, an estimated one million birds, 100,000 turtles, and countless other sea animals die each year from ingesting plastic. This is because the animals confuse the bags for edible sea life such as jellyfish and plankton. Once ingested, the plastic blocks the digestive tract and the animals starve to death. Other animals drown after becoming entangled in plastic waste. In fact, the cost to recycle plastic bags outweighs their value, so most recycling facilities will not take them. Instead of being recycled, they are thrown out with the rest of the trash. This again ends up in the ocean or spread around who knows where. Plastic bags make up more than 10% of washed-up debris that pollutes the U.S. coastline.

reusable shopping bags

Finally, after visiting the Gulf Shores Zoo on Earth Day, and learning more about plastic and it’s negative effect on our environment. I decided to make a change for the better. No more plastic bags for me. Because it’s a cool thing to do and because it’s the right thing to do. 

In landfills, paper bags create more than twice as much atmospheric waste as plastic ones do, so they’re not necessarily a better choice for the environment either.  I’m making the change to reusable shopping bags.

reusable shopping bags

Now, I challenge you to choose the best re-useable shopping bag for you. Choose your favorite store logo. Choose your own logo. Make your own design. Just choose to use re-useable bags and save some wonderful friendly faces along the way. Today I went to Publix and I just chose Publix. I like the color, GREEN.

If you would like to read more about greening the earth, please follow the Green Earth section of our blog. 

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