In many countries around the world, governments have either banned or are planning to ban plastic bags. Over many years of using bags, we have become so used to them that it is not easy to refuse. What are the plastic bag alternatives, and are they really much safer for the environment?
The uncontrolled distribution of free plastic bags in stores is a deplorable practice. Using plastic bags in such large quantities as we do is a direct way to pollute the environment. The world is already on the brink of an ecological catastrophe. Just imagine, since the early 1950s, some 8.3 billion tons of plastic have been produced around the world. Half of this amount has been produced in the last 15 years. By 2050, that number is expected to double. About 8 million plastic products are dumped into the ocean each year, primarily by coastal countries. Plastic makes up 73% of the world's beach litter.
Two million plastic bags are used every minute in the world, between 500 billion and 1 trillion annually, including 23 billion in New York City alone. Plastic has caused the death of 1.1 million birds and animals that live near the world's ocean shores. It is believed that nearly 90% of all birds and fish on the planet contain micro-particles of plastic in their bodies.
With the enormous waste of the earth's resources and the serious consequences to the planet from plastic bags, the average time to use a plastic bag is only 12 minutes!!!!!
If you are reading this article, I think you agree that the situation needs to change and we urgently need to find alternatives to plastic bags.
The topic of plastic bag alternatives is very sensitive to me. I worked for many years in civic organizations, including environmental organizations, and I have studied this topic. In this article, I have compiled the most relevant and the best alternatives to plastic bags. I hope you can choose the right alternative to plastic bags for you, which you can use to shop comfortably while also contributing to the environment. Let's go!
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So, What Are The Best Plastic Bag Alternatives?
1 | Recycled Paper Bags
Unlike plastic, paper bags are 100% recyclable! Paper bags can decompose more quickly than plastic bags. Just imagine, it takes around 20-30 years for a plastic bag to degrade in a landfill! Some scientists say that it can even last up to 200 years. Moreover, it doesn't just disappear but break up into smaller pieces and causes a devastating effect on our oceans, fishes, and wildlife. It's horrible, but microplastic is now found in food and water. By using plastic bags, we are killing ourselves and the next generations.
Paper bags, in turn, need only one month to decompose. Paper bags are made from trees and are considered ecological because trees are a renewable source.
Paper bags give less risk of suffocation to animals and children than plastic bags. Recycled paper bags are environmentally friendly because they save a huge amount of energy and decompose quickly.
One of the negative sides of using recycled paper bags is that it produces more water pollutants and air pollution than plastic bags. They also aren't waterproof. And paper bags are also more expensive to buy as compared to plastic bags.
If you want to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle, use only recycled paper bags and use them many times! When you want to throw them away, only throw them in a dedicated paper bin to make sure that the paper bag gets recycled again. After all, although trees are a renewable resource, humans are cutting down too many of them, and trees grow slowly! Let's not forget that trees are the lungs of the planet, and we need them to breathe clean air.
2. Recycled Foldable Shopping Bags
Recycled foldable shopping bags are environmental-friendly. One of the biggest positive features of foldable shopping bags is that they are reusable for years.
I have six reusable foldable shopping bags that I use for five or more years already. Yes, there was a hole in some places I sewed up; I also fixed the handles several times. But still, they last for years! Using these bags is very convenient because they take up very little space, and I always have them with me. I'm glad that many stores now offer to buy a reusable foldable shopping bag at the checkout instead of a plastic or paper bag.
Remember that over time these bags get dirty, and bacteria develop in them. So don't forget to wash the bags from time to time. If you are going to carry meat and vegetables in the bag, it can get bacteria and other microorganisms, so make sure you wash your bag after shopping.
These bags are just perfect and are the best plastic bag alternatives. You can use them again and again as it will save your money from buying a new one. They can carry multiple products at the same and cause less damage to the environment during production. Thousands of people had given a 5-star rating to foldable shopping bags on Amazon.
If you want to save the environment, then using recycled foldable shopping bags is the best choice for you.
3. Reusable Cotton Tote Bags
Cotton shopping bags are comprised of great thickness and strength; a single cotton shopping bag has more strength than a paper or plastic bag. Cotton shopping bags are the most fashionable bags which you can use while shopping.
Due to their popularity, these bags come now in thousands of designs. You can for sure choose a bag with a message that reflects your personality.
Every bag has positive and negative, so do cotton shopping bags. Low-quality bags can cause rashes and allergies to your skin; the bags' colors can easily come out while washing. It is an amazing bag for those people who like fashionable and cool things, but if you have skin problems or allergies, it may be wise to use a high-quality cotton bag.
Eco bags are your opportunity to improve the ecology of the entire planet. Yes, if each of us switched to reusable bags, we would actually produce less trash, consume less, and conserve more natural resources for our children.
Unfortunately, this approach does not benefit businesses and firms: they want to produce as much product as possible to sell as much as possible to make as much money as possible. That is why mankind has not yet gone away from plastic bags - because they can be sold in millions daily and have a very short life. So, let's make conscious decisions and choose reusable bags.
Cotton bags are also good because the natural fabric does not emit any hazardous substances for humans when burnt, dissolves in the ground without a trace and in just a few months.
These bags are very durable. The textile will not tear if you put a folder with sharp corners or construction tools.
And, of course, cotton bags allow you to save money. They are sturdy enough so that they will last for many years. A cotton tote bag is one of the most ecological, robust and durable plastic bag alternatives.
4. Reusable Mesh Shopping Bags
French mesh bags are a great alternative to plastic bags. It is a fashionable, functional, durable, and reusable bag.
You'll find mesh bags handy for large items and products that won't fall through the boxes: fruits, vegetables, rice packets, pasta, milk, butter, actually, nearly everything you need when you go shopping. You can also use the mesh bag for flowers, wine, water bottles, and even go for a walk with it and carry books and a jacket.
Another use for a mesh bag is to put a regular bag or pouch inside, which will help small items not fall through.
This bag is just perfect: it takes up little space but stretches to large sizes, it can hold up to 18 kg, will accommodate your purchases in the store or at the market, and thus save more than a dozen plastic bags we hate.
This bag is surprisingly roomy and yet compact enough to tuck into even the smallest purse. It is one of the sturdiest and most durable alternatives to plastic bags.
In addition to the thousands of benefits of this bag, the mesh bag has become a popular fashion accessory in recent years.
This trend started when the luxury brand Celine released its mesh bag, and many people loved it. More democratic brands picked up the trend: now almost every girl who follows fashion has such a handbag. The main feature is that this accessory will suit any look and make it modern and stylish.
If you want to spice up your look, get a couple of mesh bags in different colors.
While you compose fashionable looks with a mesh bag, do not forget its main purpose: to replace plastic bags.
Eco-activists have calculated that for the eco-track of a cotton bag to compare with the eco-track of a plastic bag, it should be used 150 to 250 times.
It's easy to be stylish and responsible to nature with a reusable mesh bag! Put it in the pocket of your jacket or bag, keep it handy at all times, and then the occasional trip to the store will do without adding new plastic bags to your plastic bag collection.
5. Reusable Cloth or Mesh Produce Bags