Why Use Reusable Bags?
With 40% of annual retail sales happening between Thanksgiving and Christmas, my guess is that a similar percentage of disposable plastic bags are being let loose into our system during that time as well. That makes it a good time of year to get on my reusable bag bandwagon. If you need convincing, here are a few hard facts about plastic bags from the folks at Factory Direct Promos:
- An estimated 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags are consumed each year worldwide – this works out to over 1 million bags per minute.
- A million sea birds and 100,000 animals such as whales, dolphins, turtles and seals die from plastic bags and other waste each year.
- Americans throw away about 1 billion plastic bags a year, which is equivalent to dumping nearly 12 million barrels of oil.
- Retail businesses spend about $4 billion each year on plastic bags.
- In the United States only 8 percent of the total plastic waste generated in 2010 was recycled.
- The United Nations Environment Program estimates that there are 46,000 pieces of plastic litter floating in every square mile of ocean.
Maybe your city or community is ahead of the game and has already instituted a plastic bag ban or bag fees (check this interactive Plastic Bag Ban Map for ban activity in your area). Here in Minnesota plastic bags are still going strong (except for yard waste where we have to use compostable bags).
A Few Favorite Reusable Bags
My reusable bags have been out in full swing lately for gift shopping, grocery shopping and everything in between. Here are a few in my rotation:
Esse - I've been praising their Carry All Tote for years but the new handy Clip It bag made from recycled bottles can be clipped to a keychain, backpack or stroller so it's with you whenever you need it.
BB Begonia - Big enough to hold 2 grocery bags but stylish enough to carry around town. Empty bag rolls up easily to fit in your purse.
What's your favorite reusable bag?
This post is part of the Give the gift of a Plastic-Free World This Holiday and Join the Plastic Bag Ban Movement! blog carnival, hosted by Factory Direct Promos. Check it out for more info about banning plastic bags.
(Disclosure: There are affiliate links in this post. Any purchase you make contributes a small amount to this blog. Thank you!)
(Top photo credit: andrewarchy via flickr)