The disturbing aspect of plastic waste might be how quickly it accumulates. Yes, if you consider things like helmets and mobile phones, it has made our lives easier and slightly safer, but it has also left a mark on the environment that will be visible always.
Compared to the previous century, more plastic has already been created in the first ten years of the 21st century. Plastics are actually continuing to expand in usage due to the gradual expansion of fast food culture and the disposable lifestyle.
Many issues are brought on by plastic pollution. During times of intense rain, it can clog drains and septic systems, resulting in floods. Additionally, groundwater can become contaminated by toxins from plastic materials buried in landfills. Plastic damages life, both human and animal, despite its many benefits and uses.
What is the Problem with Plastic?
Plastic causes so many problems for a variety of reasons. A handful of them are listed below:
1. Single-use plastics require a lot of energy to manufacture. 8% of the world’s oil production is used in the plastics industry. Each time one kilogram of plastic bags is produced, six kilograms of carbon dioxide are discharged into the atmosphere. The numbers may not seem like much, but they add up rather rapidly.
2. Plastic lasts forever. It doesn’t break down like the food you carry it with does. When plastic degrades, it creates tiny replicas of itself called microplastics that keep a lot of its damaging characteristics. Marine life ingests microplastics after they enter water sources. They slowly move their way up the food chain until they encounter the most dangerous living thing on earth: humans.
3. Plastics break down into potentially harmful substances. Some of the substances used to create plastics have been associated with cancer and have been said to interfere with human hormones.
4. It’s harmful to wildlife. Pictures of seagulls wearing plastic bags and sea turtles suffocating on six-pack rings plastics have been circulated. Sad to say, many of us just keep doing nothing and allowing this to happen.
Best Alternatives to Grocery Plastic Bags
Finding an alternative to plastic shopping bags decreases not just the use of plastic bags but also the quantity that is disposed of, reducing the harm that these bags do to the environment. For some people, finding the ideal substitute for plastic bags may be difficult. However, the truth is that there are a number of alternatives that are both better and more environmentally friendly.
1. Paper Bags
Paper bags are 100% more recyclable than plastic ones. Paper bags tend to degrade more slowly than plastic ones. Consider that a plastic bag decomposes in a landfill for 20 to 30 years. Some scientists even claim that it might last for 200 years. It doesn’t just go; it breaks up into tiny pieces and has a terrible effect on our oceans, animals, and biodiversity. It’s horrible that microplastic is now found in both food and water. By using plastic bags, we endanger both the present and future generations.
Contrarily, paper bags decompose within a month. Paper bags made from trees are regarded as environmentally benign because trees are a renewable resource.
Paper bags are less likely than plastic ones to suffocate children and animals. Paper bags made from recycled materials are better for the environment since they consume less energy and decompose quickly.
If you want to live a more environmentally responsible lifestyle, only use recycled paper bags and use them frequently. Only dispose of paper bags when you want to by putting them in a designated paper bin. This will help to ensure that the bags are recycled once more.
2. Foldable Shopping Bags
Foldable shopping bags made from recycled materials are eco-friendly. The fact that foldable shopping bags can be used repeatedly is one of their best qualities.
Keep in mind that these bags get dirty and start to grow bacteria with time. Therefore, remember to wash the bags occasionally. Make sure to wash your bag after shopping if you plan to take meat and veggies in it because they can attract bacteria and other creatures.
These bags are simply amazing and are the best plastic bag substitutes. You can reuse them often to save spending money on a new one. They can carry numerous goods simultaneously and produce less environmental harm.
3. Mesh Shopping Bags
French mesh bags are an excellent substitute for plastic bags. It is a bag that is stylish, useful, long-lasting, and recyclable.
Mesh bags come in helpful for large things and products that won’t fall through the boxes, such as fruits, vegetables, rice packets, pasta, milk, and butter—pretty much everything you need to buy at the store. The mesh bag can also be used to carry books and a jacket for a walk, as well as flowers, wine, and water bottles.
This bag is ideal since it saves more than a dozen plastic bags by taking up little space while expanding to enormous sizes, holding up to 18 kg, and accommodating your purchases at the market or in the store.
This bag is unexpectedly spacious and still small enough to fit into even the smallest purse. It is one of the strongest and most durable substitutes for plastic bags.
4. Cotton Tote Bags
Due to its substantial thickness and durability, a single cotton shopping bag provides higher strength than a paper or plastic bag. The most fashionable shopping bags are made of cotton.
These bags are so common that there are now countless different styles available. You may undoubtedly select a bag with a saying that captures your personality.
Cotton shopping bags have advantages and disadvantages just like any other bag. The colors of low-quality bags are readily removed during washing, and they can give you skin sensitivities and rashes. It is a fantastic bag for those who enjoy trendy and hip stuff, but if you suffer from allergies or skin conditions, it might be best to use a high-quality cotton bag.
Cotton bags are advantageous because they are made of a natural material that burns cleanly and quickly disintegrates in the ground, leaving no trace behind.
These bags are incredibly tough. If you place a folder with sharp corners or construction tools on the fabric, it won’t rip.
Of course, cotton bags also enable you to save money. They are strong enough to last for many years. One of the most environmentally friendly, strong, and long-lasting alternatives to plastic bags is a cotton tote bag.
5. Jute Bag
Plastic bags can be replaced with jute bags since they are robust and durable. They are affordable, widely accessible, and will go a long way toward establishing your eco-credentials. They are simple and stylish enough that you can wear one to work as easily as you might to the store or the beach. You have lots of dyed or patterned choices to pick from if you prefer a more vibrant appearance and don’t want to stick with the conventional jute design.
6. Canvas Bag
Canvas tote bags are a fantastic substitute for plastic bags if you want something robust and durable. They come in a wide range of designs, hues, sizes, and forms and may be scrunched or folded to fit inside a standard bag, but they also look excellent slung over the shoulder as a day bag. They are surprisingly easy to create and can be ornamented in just about any way imaginable, so either buy one for yourself or get the materials to make one at home.
7. Basket Bags
Basket bags are a terrific alternative with an indefinite functional life if you’d rather stick with tradition. They have a rustic appeal and are a great choice for some people, which is why they have persisted over time.
8. Metal Trolley
Why not fully forego the bags and instead invest in a metal cart if you frequently visit your neighborhood farmer’s market? Certainly, they are a little bigger than other choices, and they won’t work for you if you were searching for something compact and foldable that could easily fit in your everyday bag. It won’t disappoint you if, however, what you’re looking for is something dependable, strong, made to last a lifetime, and able to contain a substantial amount of produce while remaining easily transportable.
9. Woven Rattan Bag
A woven rattan bag can be the perfect solution if you’re looking for a fashionable, environmentally friendly replacement for plastic bags. They might not be as inexpensive as a plastic bag, but they will cause a lot less damage to the environment and look much better dangling from your arm than single-use plastic ever could. They are readily accessible in a broad range of sizes, styles, colors, and designs.
10. Mason Jar
Although we may mostly associate plastic bags with bringing groceries home from the shop, the majority of us are as just as guilty of using single-use plastic indoors as we are outdoors. Finding a new way to store your food will be essential if you want to cut down on the amount of plastic you use if your kitchen cabinets and refrigerator are packed with plastic bags. A fantastic approach that enables you to keep food fresh and your mind clean at the same time is to use glass mason jars. Mason jars can be reused for as long as you need, but they can also be recycled if necessary. They will always remain as fresh and functional as the day you purchased them, so long as they don’t break or degrade.
11. Denim Bag
Denim is a durable material that can withstand heavy wear, making it ideal for taking your goods home from the store. There are several variations you can purchase, but if you have some spare time, you could make one yourself out of an old pair of denim trousers. To create a durable carrier with a unique twist, simply cut the legs off at the desired point (the length of the bag will be the distance from the waistband to the end of the cut leg), stitch a double hem along the seam, and add some hooks and handles.
12. Cardboard Box
Most shops will be more than willing to let you borrow a few of their extra cardboard boxes so you can transport your purchases home. Keep a few in the back of the car so you’ll have them on hand for your next trip to the store. They’re not only sturdy and long-lasting, but they can also be recycled or used once more.
Plastic bag usage on a daily basis may quickly build up, and before you realize it, you’ve used hundreds or even thousands of plastic bags.
As a result, it’s wise to take alternatives to plastic bags into account in order to lessen their negative effects on the environment and wildlife. Although it may be challenging at first, after you get used to it, you’ll be happy you made the switch to a more sustainable option.