Our world is facing some pretty major problems. At least that is how it looks whenever I end up on social media or watch a documentary. Some of the problems we face are directly related to our consumption habits. To survive and thrive we have to consume, everything does. We need to consume resources for our food, clothing, and shelter. A goal of zero-waste is to avoid unnecessary consumption.
So when we go to the grocery store and we buy our food and the food gets bagged in those single use plastic bags, we have just unnecessarily consumed significant resources.
“Each year the United States uses 30 billion plastic and 10 billion paper grocery bags, requiring approximately 14 million trees and 12 million barrels of oil. Each high quality reusable bag you use has the potential to eliminate an average of 1,000 plastic bags over its lifetime.”
Plastic Bag Facts – Rensselaer County Legislature
The same thing is true when we go to the clothing store, hardware store, sports store, beauty store, music store, book store, outdoor adventure store, yarn store, art store, pet store, the mall, general store, or Co-Op…Any time something is purchased at any store and put into a single use plastic or paper bag we have contributed to the unnecessary use of resources. It’s like leaving a light on in a room no one is in or letting the faucet run all day.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration states that Americans use 19.4 million barrels of oil a day, so single use plastic bags is a drop in the bucket. However, it is an unnecessary drop when we consider how easy it is not to use single use plastic or paper bags.
Let’s break it down into 5 steps: (This assumes you are using a car to get around).
1) Put 1 to 4 or more reusable shopping bags in your car.
2) When you go to a store take the reusable shopping bags with you.
3) Put your purchases into the reusable shopping bags.
4) Bring the bags back to the car.
5) Consume purchases and return bags to the car.
Each person will have a slightly different way of doing this. Angie, for example, keeps 3 very thin reusable bags in her purse. I’ve seen people on bikes, the bus, the subway, or walking using their own bags. Some people even make their own bags.
What about you?
Share your way with us in the comment section.
Thanks for reading,