Reusable Shopping Bags & Types of Reusable Shopping Bags
Using disposable shopping bags means more trash for the nation’s already stuffed landfills. It takes valuable resources to produce these bags and if shoppers could stop using them, it would greatly help the Earth’s environment. As we have noticed in many parts of the World the use of reusable shopping bags is catching on. Hopefully what this means in the future is that we may no longer have a need for single use paper and plastic disposable bags. One reason reusable bags are becoming more popular is because there are many types of them from which you can choose. They are made from a variety of materials and come in many styles, colors and designs. Quite simply, using reusable bags is a simple and fashionable way to go green.
If you really want to be “super green”, choose an organic cotton reusable shopping bag. The cotton used for these bags is grown without the use of pesticides or other harmful chemicals or farming processes. The production of these bags has a low impact on the environment, as does the packing and transport of the bags. They come in a variety of sizes, styles and are a great material choice for a reusable bag. The bags are strong and can hold more than plastic disposable bags, so you can use fewer bags. Every so often you will want to throw them in the washing machine and or hand-wash them, so they do not collect harmful bacteria and germs. Basically though, they are easy to care for.
Canvas bags are another choice in reusable shopping bags. This type of bag is easy to clean and care for. This makes them a great bag for grocery shopping because you can throw them in the washing machine to make sure any drips from leaky meat packages are gone. You do not want to have bacteria lingering in your shopping bag that can your family sick. Many people use the canvas bags for a variety of uses, so this also prevents cross contamination of other items you choose to carry in your bag. Canvas is a durable material that can carry a lot of items.
Hemp is another option. Reusable shopping bags made from this material are incredibly strong and durable. The hemp bags are quite expensive because they are imported from the West. Laws and regulation in the United States concerning marijuana prevent the mass production of hemp products in our country. Hemp is easy to grow and can flourish in poor soil or in places with little water, so it takes little effort. The material is rot resistant and will outlast many other types of bags. It does not matter which type of bag you choose to use as long you use them regularly.
No Matter what reusable shopping bags that you decide on using, the bottom line is that one reusable bag can take 300-500 single use plastic and paper bags out of the grocery store! As a nation of people who respect our Earth it’s a no brainer that we can now all safely “Ditch the Plastic & be Green-Tastic!”
Dangers in Reusable Shopping Bags
Center for Consumer Freedom has a report showing excessive lead levels in 16 of 44 organizations reusable shopping bags. National chains including CVS, Safeway, Bloom, and Walgreens were among those with the high lead levels.
Wall Street Journal has a good article about the reusable shopping bag. It tells us to consider the sources of these bags as many are made from China, the type of material the bag is made with, and the quantity of them you keep.
“Finding a truly green bag is challenging. Plastic totes may be more eco-friendly to manufacture than ones made from cotton or canvas, which can require large amounts of water and energy to produce and may contain harsh chemical dyes. Paper bags, meanwhile, require the destruction of millions of trees and are made in factories that contribute to air and water pollution.
Many of the cheap, reusable bags that retailers favor are produced in Chinese factories and made from nonwoven polypropylene, a form of plastic that requires about 28 times as much energy to produce as the plastic used in standard disposable bags and eight times as much as a paper sack, according to Mr. Sterling, of Natural Capitalism Solutions.”
A recent investigation found that many reusable shopping bags imported from China contain excessive levels of lead and heavy metals. Many of these were sold by national and regional retailers like Winn-Dixie and Publix. Some bags even contained fecal bacteria and E. coli. Be careful where you buy your bag.
The more elaborate the illustrations on the bags, the more likely they contained toxins. Yellow and green paint on bags is a common carrier of lead.
- Look for bags with recycled content, like those from Walmart, Staples, and Target. Best seem to be Walmart’s $1bag has 85% recycled content, the cheaper one has less.
- Use the bag! Carry it in your car, leave it in your front seat, or by the front door.
- A nylon bag sold by Target with almost no illustrations had almost undetectable levels of lead. Also, the simplest bags from Sweetbay, Walmart and Publix contained little lead.
- The major danger of lead in reusable shopping backs is that they will someday end up in the landfill and wash lead into the environment.
Make sure the bag is sturdy and that you will actually use it.
Reusable Produce Bags
EcoSac GardenSac Reusable Produce Bags replace the wasteful plastic bags you have to use in the grocer’s produce section. Hold your salad greens, fruits, and veggies in this reusable sack made of cotton. $5 for 2 at Whole Foods.
They state: “Carbon-neutral shipping, no animal harmed, no animal testing, no animal ingredients, reusable.”
Washing reusable Shopping Bags
A recent news article reminded us that bacteria can grow inside your shopping bag, from all the grocery, meat, and other items. We need to wash our bags to protect against contamination. Try to do it every week or so. Cloth bags are a little more durable when compared to other materials.
Amazon.com has a new Green Products section with eco-friendly, safe, and healthy items. It is great that the Internet’s largest e-tailer is getting with the times. They cover eco friendly products from lightbulbs to push mowers to steel water bottles to laptops to solar panels.