Eco shopping bags are really starting to pick up steam in most countries. No matter where you’re at, you can usually find at least a couple of people carrying canvas, nylon reusable bags, or even just responsibly manufactured paper bags throughout the grocery store, and most stores are offering them in one way or another at checkout.
What do they really do, though? How do they help the environment? They’re still products that need to be manufactured, and they need to be transported, which both cause pollution. So, do they really make a difference?
Well, yes, they do.
The entire supply line might not be green, and for a while, that will probably remain the case, but using eco shopping bags does make a considerable impact despite drawbacks that affect products of all kinds.
Let’s take a look at the three main ways they help.
This is the benefit that creates most of the other benefits of eco shopping bags. All of them, including the paper variety, are reusable. Sure, canvas and certain tough-built plastic bags are more likely to last for years than paper bags, but they can all be used numerous times before needing to be replaced.
Plastic bags can be reused, but they’re pretty flimsy. You might get two uses out of your plastic bags before holes start forming, handles start ripping, and they generally become a burden. Even paper bags, unless they get soaked, are way more reliable than plastic; that means they don’t need to be made in such enormous quantities, and that cuts down on several forms of pollution.
2: Less Transportation
A lot of people think of the ecological cost of plastic bags in terms of how many end up in landfills. However, that’s just a fraction of the pollution caused by them.
In reality, two other main sources of pollution come from plastic bag production; You have to manufacture the plastic itself, and then you have to use massive hauling trucks, planes, and other freight systems to haul all those bags. That produces a ton of pollution in the form of emissions.
Yes, eco-friendly bags do need to be manufactured, and that requires heavy machinery. They also have to be transported.
However, they are much cleaner to manufacture than plastic bags; especially if you go with canvas or paper options. Also, since they’re reusable, there isn’t as big of a need to manufacture more of them. That reduces how often they need to be transported, and it helps cut back on emissions.
3: No Recycling
This one might come as a shock, but recycling produces pollution. How do you think they sanitize recycled materials and make them usable again? They get burned, chemically treated, or undergo one of many other processes. Beyond that, most things brought into the recycling center aren’t even recyclable. So, they end up in the landfill anyways.
Eco-friendly shopping bags can be reused as they are in your own home, and when they are finally worn out, they’re biodegradable.