The disposable bag has become an increasingly well-known villain in Washington. It started its nasty ways by trashing the Anacostia River, and now it’s demanding our nickels so we can clean it up! This has a lot of frequent shoppers very punchy. (Did you know City Sports sells granola bars so they have to charge for their bags too?) Who does the disposable bag think it is?
The good news is we’re not alone in our campaign against disposables. Italy along with many other European countries has enacted a country-wide ban on the provision of free single use plastic bags. But now shoppers are left wondering, how do I get my stuff home? Is it time to buy one of those reusable bags and carry it everywhere I go?
All of these concerns inspired the UK Environment Agency to issue a report on the carbon footprint of the reusable bag versus the disposable one. To regain your investment on the bag, you’d have to use it about 40 times. However, by using your bag only 4 times, you have achieved lower carbon emissions than if you had used disposables. Additionally, multi-use or reusable bags are less resource-intense to produce than disposables, as plastic and paper use more resources and energy in their production.
Of course depending on the style and make of the bag, more uses may be necessary to glean the environmental benefits, but assuming you do use (remember to bring) the bag frequently, reusable is the way to go.