Worldwide, an estimated 500 billion to one trillion plastic bags are used every year. Unfortunately, the economics of plastic recycling is such that it costs exponentially more to recycle a bag than to make a new one. Thus, few plastic bags are recycled and most are left to linger on the Earth for the next 1,000 years in landfills and oceans. Yet, it is undeniable that plastics are one of the major contributors in global warming. Thus, to secure our future and our posterity, we must find a solution to the problems that plastic bags create.
How then, shall this problem be solved?
Instead of being dependent on plastic bags to store and carry our things, we can do our part in saving the Earth by using reusable bags. Sometimes called as the “bags for life” or “eco-friendly bags,” they are often made from fabric such as canvas, woven synthetic fibers, or a thick plastic that is more durable than disposable plastic bags, allowing multiple uses. These eco-friendly bags even look more attractive than the ordinary plastic bags we have.
Reusable bags do take energy and resources to make, but the fact that they are made once and used hundreds of times means that their detrimental effect to the environment is much smaller than ordinary plastic bags. One set of reusable bags has the potential to save over 20,000 plastic bags throughout one's lifetime. Reusable shopping bags can carry at least twice as much as most standard plastic shopping bags and have a useful life of at least five years. If properly cared for, high quality reusable bags will last much longer.
There is a continuous effort all around the world today where people are diverting towards all those things which are not harmful to society. In fact, governments around the world are starting to devote some of their resources to improve public awareness.Various organizations have increasingly discouraged consumers from using disposable plastic bags and offer alternative reusable bags with low prices, providing information on protecting and preserving our environment. The ones sold in supermarkets often have designs related to nature, such as prints of tree or earth, in order to emphasize environmental concerns.
Because of encouragement by governments and organizations, reusable bags have become one of the latest fashion trends. The apparel industry also contributed to make it popular. Famous designers and popular fashion brand companies are promoting their own reusable bags and releases new designs one after another.
Using reusable bags is not a choice anymore, it is everyone’s responsibility. Taking small steps now, changing old wasteful and harmful habits into more sustainable habits, set the foundations for the change in our attitude that will ultimately save the planet. It sets a good example for those around us, our family, relatives and friends. When we strive to support the use of reusable bags, we lessen the fear of ending up in a horrible situation.
It’s not yet too late to make a stand in protecting the environment. Next time that you go shopping, show your support to the environment by telling the cashier, "No thanks, I brought my own bags for life."