Some years ago I went to a market in Saanen, Switzerland and, much to a chagrin, they did not provide a bag for me to carry my groceries back to the chalet. I purchased the string bag on the spot, and after that I never again forgot to take my very own bag to the store in Europe.
More recently, while visiting my relatives in Holland, I noticed that the cousin, like many other Dutch buyers, brought cardboard boxes each time she made a trip to the store. To get larger items or quantities, boxes work even better than string or canvas bags.
My bicycle comes with two large saddle bags that will hold two giant canvas bags of groceries or other items. For larger things like watermelons I hook-up my trusty bike cart or use my handy individual fold-up shopping cart which I purchased for approximately $20.
I also keep a large sturdy attractive straw basket, an old back-pack and a variety of recycled bags and cloth bags permanently in the car. Storing the plastic and paper bags you already have on hand immediately within the car rather than stuffing them in a cabinet and risk forgetting to bring all of them when you run to the market, is one of the easiest things you can do for the environment.
Whether I walk, bicycle or drive, We make sure to have a supply of cloth bags on hand.
It takes 12 million barrels of oil to produce the plastic luggage Americans use each year. In addition , regarding 15 million trees are cut down to produce paper for paper bags. You can help reduce oil consumption and save trees simply by bringing your own bag on your next trip to the store.
Each sturdy cloth or canvas reusable shopping bag you use has the potential to eliminate hundreds, if not hundreds, of plastic and paper hand bags over its lifetime.
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Ideally, just about all cities should adopt a Plastic-type material Bag Reduction Ordinance. The facts and figures regarding the true cost of plastic-type bags are well-documented on web sites like Resusablebags. com which includes a counting clock of plastic bags consumed this year. One million bags a minute are consumed, becoming trash and choking marine mammals.
Becoming a plastic-bag-free City is one more important environmental step towards becoming a sustainable green city. Local stores can look to stores like the Swedish furniture company, IKEA for ways to encourage customers to consider to bring their own re-usable bags. IKEA is charging shoppers in their Oughout. S. stores five cents for each plastic bag. The move to getting for a bag helps to remind a lot more people to bring a reusable bag. Stores should also credit customers five cents for each recycled bag used in bagging their groceries.
Since it can take many months to pass a local plastic-type bag ordinance, customers can inspire their favorite stores to take the lead and adopt bag reduction actions such as the above as soon as possible. There are numerous different ways to motivate customers to bring their own bags, boxes and baskets. One more step used by some stores is to provide a bin where customers can use re-cycled paper and plastic luggage brought in by other customers, for those instances they forget to bring their own.
Just about all stores could have a display with the Top Facts on the true cost plus environmental impact of paper plus plastic bags. For example:
– Each year, an estimated 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags are consumed globally. That comes out to over one million per minute. Billions end up as litter every year.
– According to the EPA, over 380 billion plastic bags, sacks plus wraps are consumed in the Oughout. S. each year.
– According to The Wsj, the U. S. goes through one hundred billion plastic shopping bags each year. (Estimated cost to retailers is $4 billion)
– According to the industry publication Modern Plastics, Taiwan consumes 20 billion bags a year-900 per person.
– Hundreds of thousands of sea turtles, whales and other ocean mammals die every year from consuming discarded plastic bags mistaken to get food.
– Plastic bags usually do not biodegrade, they photodegrade-breaking down into smaller and smaller toxic bits contaminating soil and waterways and entering the food web when animals unintentionally ingest.
– Windblown plastic hand bags are so prevalent in Africa that a cottage industry has sprung up harvesting bags and using them to place hats, and even bags. According to the BBC, one group harvests 30, 1000 per month.
– According to David Barnes, a marine scientist with the British Antarctic Survey, plastic bags possess gone “from being rare in the late 80s and early 90s to being almost everywhere from Spitsbergen 78° North [latitude] to Falklands 51° South [latitude].
– Plastic bags are usually among the 12 items of debris frequently found in coastal cleanups, according to the not for profit Center for Marine Conservation.
Keep in mind: Each high quality reusable shopping handbag you use has the potential to eliminate hundreds, if not thousands, of plastic and paper bags over its lifetime.
SUZA FRANCINA, the former mayor associated with Ojai, California, is a writer, animal advocate, and spokesperson on environment issues. She is also a Certified Iyengar Yoga Instructor and pioneer in neuro-scientific teaching yoga to seniors. The girl first book, Yoga for People Over 50, was published in 1977. She is author of The New Yoga exercises for People Over 50 (Health Marketing communications, Inc., 1997); Yoga and the Intelligence of Menopause (HCI, 2003); and The New Yoga for Healthy Ageing (HCI 2007).