In my recent trips to grocery stores, I found myself in shock after seeing the return of single-use plastic bags being used. I have already gotten used to the paper bag, which is quite a good sustainable alternative, so it troubled me when I saw a sea of plastic on the cashier’s counter.
We all know how bad plastic is for the environment. Once thrown out, it can cause significant environmental harm. It poses a threat to animals like birds and turtles, which mistake shreds of plastic as food. Indeed, a threat to the world’s flora and fauna.
As early as 10 years old, I noticed that my mom would always bring her own bag when grocery shopping. This small act, she said, could mean a lot to the environment.
In 2021, I was reminded of it when I saw reusable canvas tote bags being sold by one of my favorite drag artists. It was made out of canvas and had the words “Keep Drag Alive” printed on it, which is one of her advocacies for the local drag scene that I am a part of.
I thought to myself whether I need it since I don’t know whether I have a use for it. Although the design was pretty, I already had a backpack that I always use to bring my things around. However, I immediately recalled what my mother told me and purchased the tote bag.
Since then, I have had more than five canvas tote bags that I bring with me everywhere.
Using an eco-bag or tote bag is one minuscule step towards sustainability. And I hope our tribe increases.
Here are six reasons why you should bring your own (eco) bag wherever you go:
You conserve resources. Plastic bags may seem like a light and small material. However, they have tons of environmental footprints within, starting with the energy required to make them.
According to guidelines released by Waste Management Northwest, 12 million barrels of oil are used to manufacture plastic bags consumed each year by the United States alone.
Using eco-bags lessen the amount of materials that would go to waste, like biodegradable materials such as old papers, jute twine, cotton, and flour-based adhesive. These provide a better alternative in the usage of these materials rather than just being dumped into the trash.
You help in decreasing pollution. Plastic has a destructive effect on the environment. Plastic bags take 15 to 1,000 years to decompose, having a long-lasting impact on Mother Nature, assuming they make it to landfill instead of the ocean.
In an article published by the World Bank last 2021, an estimated 2.7 million plastic waste is generated in the Philippines each year, with 20 percent of it ending up in the ocean, striking the fishing, tourism, and shipping industries in the country.
Eco-bags are not only sustainable alternatives. Avoiding plastic bags and switching to reusable eco-bags can help in reducing different types of pollution that can damage the Earth, its inhabitants, and its surroundings, specifically its lands and bodies of water.
You can experience its strength and durability. Reusable eco-bags and tote bags are stronger and sturdier compared to single-use plastic bags. They are unlikely to have their handle torn off or develop holes in corners or when sharp objects are pressed into them.
Moreover, reusable bags can carry more weight, leading to quicker bagging, fewer bags to carry, and easier loading and unloading.
You can declutter your space. Some people plan to reuse their plastic bags for future use, specifically in taking out the trash and picking up dog waste, among others. However, it is quite impossible to use all the bags to collect, leading to a huge drawer or cabinet filled with plastic bags.
As time passes by, we begin to understand how clutter negatively affects our mental health. With this in mind, more people are seeking to adopt a cleaner, more minimalist lifestyle. You can start this by switching to reusable eco-bags or tote bags instead.
Upon switching to these and using the last of your plastic bag collection, you can enjoy a brand-new storage space for more important things.
You can repurpose them. Reusable eco-bags are more than just for your grocery needs. You can use it as your regular bag that carries around the usual items you need on a daily basis.
Furthermore, it can be used to house your packed lunch for the day, as well as carry snacks for a road trip or the books you need upon going to school or the library. These bags are versatile and can be used for anything, especially when one broadens their perspective.
You can show off your style/personality. Eco-bags and tote bags are part of the fashion trend right now and some businesses are selling these reusable bags printed with pop culture icons, motivational quotes, and various characters, among others.
Using eco-bags and tote bags not only puts you into a sustainable lifestyle, but it can also help you flaunt who you are as they are now being sold with trendy prints. Some even have customizing services where you can have your favorite characters or quotes printed into the bags. For example, I am into drag culture and video games so I own a tote bag that features my favorite drag queens, as well as characters from my favorite games.
These bags show my personality, especially when I tote them around.
Indeed, eco bags are better to use than single-use plastic bags.
So, if you are in line for the grocery and see plastic bags being distributed, stop and think about what it can do to you and the environment. Make the switch now.