Plastic bags are bad for the environment. While that sentence is accurate, it doesn’t quite do the crisis that is unfolding justice. Plastic bags contribute a great deal to the floating garbage patch in the ocean and don’t biodegrade for hundreds of years. This has been recently highlighted by an expedition to the very bottom on the Marianas Trench. A plastic bag was found at the deepest point of the ocean and the whole planet.
The big question is, if we don’t use plastic bags, what can we use instead? There are actually plenty of environmentally friendly alternatives to plastic bags, and the following are six suitable replacements:
1. Tote Bags
These are the reusable bags that you only pay a few dollars for and then you can reuse them thousands of times. Not only is this better for the environment, but they are actually much easier for a customer to use and they are stronger and will never rip. Another great advantage to using tote bags is that you have your brand or logo placed on them. As they are built to last, they are often used for more than just grocery runs. At trips to the beach and cottage, branded tote bags would not seem out of place at all.
If this is something that you thin could elevate your brand message, then you’re absolutely right. The best part is that you are making a statement with these bags as you are establishing yourself as socially responsible. You can show that you care about the environment. For most millennials, this is a very important consideration and should be taken seriously.
2. Canvas bags
For many of the same reasons as tote bags, these make for a great alternative to plastic bags. They are cheap to produce and will be used countless times. They can also carry a company’s brand and give the consumer the feeling that they are doing the right thing by avoiding the use of a plastic bag. You can also fold these bags up very small so that you don’t need to be walking around with a big cumbersome bag all day when you don’t need it.
As these are made of fabric, they can be made to order in any shape or size. It is even possible to add sleeves to the inside for carrying multiple wine bottles. A bag with this design can quickly become an essential means for a consumer to pick up their booze before a long weekend.
3. A trusty backpack
You no doubt have a backpack lying around at home from your days travelling through South East Asia, or from taking your books to and from school. On your next shopping trip, why not take it with you? You’ll be amazed at just how much easier it is to carry groceries to and from your car when all of the heavy items are on your back.
This doesn’t only have to apply to backpacks either. If you have room in your purse or your pockets, consider using these to transport your purchases. Just remember to hang onto your receipt. It gives people a certain level of comfort to know that they have their items in a plastic bag, which in a way shows that they paid for them. Keeping the receipt does the job just as well.
4. Produce bags
These are widely available alternatives to plastic bags, even though they haven’t really caught on yet. These are mesh bags that are perfect for carrying fresh produce. They offer greater protection than plastic bags and can be reused multiple times and then washed with ease. They are lightweight and can make a huge difference in the amount of plastic that you use each year. After all, even those little transparent produce bags are damaging to the environment.
You can get these mesh bags in a number of different sizes to accommodate different foods. For example, you might want to keep your potatoes in a large bag and your oranges and apples in another. No longer do you have to be held prisoner to one size of plastic bag. You can personalize your shopping experience.
5. Paper bags
These are not as ideal as some of the other solutions on the list, but at least these can be made from recycled materials and will biodegrade in a realistic time frame. They have the advantage of being easy to brand and also lightweight. They are more single-use than the environmentally conscious tote bag and they can only support a fraction of the weight.
6. A cart on wheels
This can be the perfect solution for your next grocery run. Especially if you are fond of buying multiple heavy items. You will never again have to feel the sting of 5 plastic bag handles digging into your fingers as you attempt to make the transition from the car to your kitchen in one trip.