There’s a lot of information to peruse through when choosing whether to use a reusable or a single-use plastic bag with all the facts and figures. In a way, this appears like a small decision.
Many people may wonder if it matters what bag type they use to transport groceries, but it matters a lot. Every small action matters a lot. If you add up all the bags you use in a week, a month, or even a year, a small choice like the kind of grocery bag to use can have a strong influence.
We’ve compiled all the information and put together a comparison of single-use plastic and reusable bags. Read on to find out more on their differences.
Single-Use Plastic Bags
Disposable plastic bags comprise a reedy film manufactured using natural gas or petroleum, both of which are non-renewable natural resources. The bags are light and, therefore, perfect for carrying stuff as you don’t want the bag to weigh you down.
The film is long-lasting. However, if the thin film gets torn, that’ll expand fast and the bag will be rendered useless. It’s usual to find alternative uses for single-use plastic bags after keeping your groceries.
However, these bags have a limited lifespan as they’re not intended for long-term use. The best way to dispose of plastic bags is recycling since they aren’t biodegradable. Although the adaptation of recycling has improved significantly, primarily through targeted programs, the rates are still reasonably low.
If single-use plastic bags aren’t recycled, they’ll either become garbage or end up in a landfill. Both results are an issue. Wayward disposable plastic bags can harm ecosystems, constitute a major health risk to animals, particularly when eaten and cause mayhem to food chains.
Aquatic animals and birds are susceptible to disposable plastic bags that flood their habitats, but all animals are in danger.
Reusable bags can be made from several fabrics, such as sustainable materials manufactured from cotton, bamboo, or jute, or even reprocessed plastics. A bag should be sufficiently durable to be used constantly for many years for it to be considered a reusable bag.
If a buyer collects five or six reusable grocery bags, then they’re ready to tote their groceries home without using plastic bags. For reusable shopping bags to be efficient, you have to get used to taking them with you every time you go shopping.
This may take a bit of getting used to, and many people always stow their reusable bags in their car or leave them at the car’s front door or even write a note of their grocery list to make sure their bags are always close at hand when required.
There are many tricks to build this habit. Reusable grocery bags also need a bit of maintenance, which makes sense as this bag lasts long. These grocery bags may have and spread bacteria if not washed. When cleaned frequently, reusable grocery bags are safe.
Differences between Single-Use Plastic Bags and Reusable Shopping Bags
|Disposable Plastic Bags||Reusable Grocery Bags|
|They have a huge environmental impact as they’re not biodegradable (cannot decompose easily).||They’re eco-friendly as they can decompose easily.|
|You’ll use a significant amount of money buying each time you go shopping.||It can be used for many years and, therefore, saves you money.|
|After being disposed of, they end up in landfills or pose a risk to wildlife and aquatic life.||They’re not harmful to wild and marine animals as they aren’t disposed but used again and again|
|They don’t last long.||They’re durable|
|They are more susceptible to wear and tear as they’re flimsy||They are strong and not prone to wear and tear when compared to single-use plastic bags|
|They are lightweight and cannot carry heavy groceries||Reusable bags can tote lots of groceries|
|They are made of plastic that doesn’t last long||They are manufactured using high-quality and durable fabrics such as cotton and polypropylene|
Interesting Facts about Disposable Plastic Bags
- The decomposition of plastic bags takes from 15 to 1000 years.
- An estimated 4 billion disposable plastic bags are thrown away each year worldwide. If they’re tied end to end, they can circle the earth about 63 times.
- Thousands of turtles, approximately 1 million birds, and other marine animals die annually after consuming disposable plastic bags.
- 10 percent and more of the rubble washed up along the coast in many countries consist of disposable plastic bags.
- Every year, twelve million drums of oil are used in the production of around 100 billion disposable plastic bags.
- The petroleum used in the production of plastic bags can drive a car for a mile.
Single-use plastic bags are expedient because of their lightweight construction and they’re also easily available. Nonetheless, they are manufactured using non-renewable resources and they aren’t biodegradable. They, therefore, constitute a risk to animals and the environment.
Reusable shopping bags are more different, but all reusable bags are long-lasting and can be used over and over again. As a buyer, you have to get used to carrying your reusable grocery bag and you need to wash it now and then.
However, reusable shopping bags don’t cause any environmental damage. What are your thoughts on this? What’s your preferred bag and why do you use it?