Not only is it easy to do, but I actually like using them better. They hold more, which means less bags to carry in the house after grocery shopping.
Here are the facts:
•Approx. 380 billion plastic bags are used in the United States every year. That’s more than 1,200 bags per US resident, per year.
•Approx. 100 billion of the 380 billion are plastic shopping bags.
•Thousands of marine animals and more than 1 million birds die each year as a result of plastic pollution.
•Only 1 to 2% of plastic bags in the USA end up getting recycled.
•An estimated 12 million barrels of oil is required to make that many plastic bags.
•The United Nations Environment Programme estimates that there are 46,000 pieces of plastic litter floating in every square mile of ocean.
•Plastic bags are often mistakenly ingested by animals, clogging their intestines which results in death by starvation. Other animals or birds become entangled in plastic bags and drown or can’t fly as a result.
•Even when they photo-degrade in landfill, the plastic from single-use bags never goes away, and toxic particles can enter the food chain when they are ingested by unsuspecting animals.
•Greenpeace says that at least 267 marine species are known to have suffered from getting entangled in or ingesting marine debris. Nearly 90% of that debris is plastic.
•Americans consume more than 10 billion paper bags per year. Approximately 14 million trees are cut down every year for paper bag production.
•Most of the pulp used for paper shopping bags is virgin pulp, as it is considered stronger.
•Paper production requires hundreds of thousands of gallons of water as well as toxic chemicals like sulphurous acid, which can lead to acid rain and water pollution.
The first step to using reusable bags is to find ones you love. If you love them, you will remember to use them. Here are a few of my favorite bags:
Lilly wanted to be a reusable bag model :)
Brinkley can never resist a comfy bag.
As you can see from this picture, you can store all your bags within one bag and it won't take up much room at all. You can keep one of these bundles of bags in each of your cars. Every time you go shopping, you will have them ready to grab and bring into a store.
We've been using reusable bags for about four years now and all of the original bags we bought are still good. None of them have broken or gotten too worn down. We use them for all shopping: grocery store, Target, shoe store, clothing store, pharmacy, etc. Once you get in the habit, it's easy to remember to grab them.
One last thing...
The kids and I watched Sesame Street's Being Green today.
It's a great DVD. I bought it for them to watch on Earth Day last year. I highly recommend it.
I know Sesame Street is usually geared towards young children, but I work with school-age children and they learned a lot from it.
They explain what it means to reduce, reuse, and recycle.
They show how a woman in Africa makes really nice bags out of old plastic bags.
A group of kids make paper out of old jeans.
Another group of children in NYC grow a vegetable garden.
And it has Paul Rudd in an earth costume. How can you pass that up? :)