• Experience with this product: I love not having a ton of excess paper/plastic bags around! It totally makes sense to have reusable grocery bags considering how many times people go to the market and will continue going to the market. It can be inconvenient to keep track of the bags and make sure they go back into your vehicle after each use, and then actually remember them when you go into the market. We have forgotten them in the car quite a few times, so we just park the cart near customer service and run back out to get them! You must be stubborn and determined for the Earth and it’s future. This is a habit change that takes time but it is totally doable. One step at a time! I have found that having one dedicated spot in the car for the reusable shopping bags greatly reduces the amount of times you will forget them. All about the muscle memory!
• What we were using before: Paper bags from the market, and then reuse/repurpose them, compost them when they break, or return them to the market we got them from.
• The impact of this change:
Health & Safety: I have not found any immediate/long term health effects for humans using plastic grocery bags, other than they are a dangerous choking hazard for infants and children.
Earth: Plastic grocery bags that end up in the ocean look like jellyfish. Waste Management estimates that 100,000 marine animals are killed every year by single use plastic bags. Here are some more estimates from Waste Management:
Plastic Bag Consumption
- Year that plastic grocery bags were introduced at supermarkets: 1977
- Estimated number of plastic bags used each year, world-wide: 4,000,000,000,000
- Number of plastic shopping bags used each year, in the US alone: 14,000,000,000
- Percentage of plastic bags returned for recycling: 1
- Annual cost to US retailers for giving away "free" bags: $4,000,000,000
- Barrels of oil required for US annual plastic bag consumption: 12,000,000
- Number of marine animals killed each year due to plastic bags: 100,000
- Average number of pieces of plastic in each square mile of ocean: 46,000
Paper Bag Consumption
- Number of paper bags consumed each year, in the US alone: 10,000,000,000
- Number of trees cut down for paper bag consumption, in the US: 14,000,000
Economic: California was the first state to ban plastic bags. According to the LA Times, 'plastic bags (both the banned and the legal variety) accounted for 3.1% of the litter collected from the state’s beaches during the 2017 Coastal Cleanup Day, down from to 7.4% in 2010. As of 2015, Hawaii has also banned non-biodegradable plastic bags at checkout, as well as paper bags containing less than 40 percent recycled material. In 2009, the District of Colombia also enacted a law banning distribution of disposable, non-recyclable plastic carry-out bags and set a fee of five cents for distribution of all other disposable bags.'
This is an awesome start, and for the people reading this who live in states where you still have plastic bags at the market, bringing your own shopping bags isn't as daunting as it seems. Give it a try! :) Buying 4-5 reusable bags pays for itself within a few trips to the market!
• Where to get it: These are EVERYWHERE. Some companies even give them away at local events (the Acacia bag was a free bag from a wine tasting in the market!). They’re available at the market around the checkout section, or at Dollar Tree too! You can make custom ones on Shutterfly or Walgreens photo area. Always check for coupons! 😁
**Shutterfly has a 50% off sale right now on Reusable bags, and use coupon code GREATYEAR for another 20% off your order! That expires Wednesday January 17th! I also found two coupon codes for shipping!
*Free economy shipping on orders of $39 or more. Promo code: SHIP39
*Free upgrade to expedited shipping on merchandise orders of $49 or more. Promo code: UPGRADE at checkout and select expedited shipping