Lisa A Stavig talks about the impact of plastic bags on our environment. If you have been reading my blog, attended any of my many markets or visited my etsy shop, then you know my commitment to the environment and recycling, upcycling and reusing our resources. I wanted to talk about my Upcycled Grocery Totebags and why using anything but plastic grocery bags is so important.
First of all, I have some shocking statistics on plastic bags, and no, not just grocery stores use them. I was in several retail stores tonight that only used plastic bags. Not a single clerk asked if I had my own bag, which of course I did. I got alot of my information from a site called Reuseit.com . It is a site dedicated to stopping the use of plastic bags. Please visit their website for more statistics.
Did you know: In 1 year, the United States alone goes through 100 billion single use plastic bags at an estimated cost to retailers of $4 billion. A single use plastic bag can take up to 1000 years to break down and after it breaks down it remains toxic. The only thing more prevalent in ocean refuse than a plastic bag is cigarette butts. To further that point, there are over 46,000 pieces of plastic floating in our oceans per square mile of ocean. I want to break this down to a family level, because those number are staggering in their enormity. Each family that uses plastic bags when they visit the grocery store accumulates around 60 bags in just 4 visits. This breaks down to around 14-15 per visit.
So what is the solution? Reuseit.com says the solution is NOT to switch to using paper or compostable bags. These types of bags require more use of our natural resources in the manufacturing process. It requires higher fuel use in making the bags and in transporting them.
Recycling the plastic bags is one solution. Although out of all the bags used each year (100,000 billion), only .5% to 3% are recycled. Most people just throw them away, which is clogging our land fills at an unbelievable rate.
Let’s look at the environmentally friendly options of reusable bags. If you use a reusable bag, you get money discounted from your total bill per bag each time you use it. So the bag is actually paying for itself and saving you money. I want to point out that alot of the reusable bags are not made of a strong fabric in the bottom. They tend to buckle under the weight of a heavy load of cans. Check out people tend to overstuff the reusable bags and they end up tearing and getting holes. Believe me, I have used a lot of reusable bags.
This is why I created my Upcycled Grocery Totebags which also are awesome as swimming bags. I recycled a window screen which I like to purchase from Habit For Humanities outlet stores. This helps them, the environment and me all at once. Then I upcycle a pair of blue jeans and create a very strong bottom to the bag with a 4 inch gusset by making sure the screen runs the whole way through the bottom. It is then lined with the blue jean material to help hold in your items. The window screen gives produce plenty of air to breathe and helps to slow the decay factor in lots of veggies and fruit. It is also is good for keeping wet swim stuff from molding as it allows it to dry. Then I use strong double layer denim straps as handles. These are much stronger and allow you to carry the heavy loads with not worries. I love my bag and hope you do too. To purchase one of my bags, please visit my Lisa A Stavig’s etsy shop . I have several different ones available and am always adding new ones. So make sure to keep checking back.