There is a sustained push in all sectors to reduce the negative impact on the environment. Some of the efforts include a reduction in tree cutting, energy conservation, and enhanced production efficiency, among others. For customers, retail stores and packaging industry, their contribution is best captured in the use of reusable grocery bags in place of the previously popular plastic bags. The idea is to reduce the number of waste bags accumulated from shopping and the negative impact plastics have on the environment. But what impact will the use reusable bags have on the environment?
Plastic packaging and carrier bags were considered the greatest pollutant. You would hardly take a few steps without encountering a polythene paper of one kind or the other. This meant a lot of dirt and pollution in neighborhoods and public places. Because people could use several papers in a day, there was little regard for the impact these papers had on the environment. It is estimated that an average person used 350-400 papers in a year. Most of these papers were never recycles or disposed of appropriately. Using reusable grocery bags means that this number will reduce. Even if these papers are not disposed of properly, their number in the environment will be greatly reduced. The level of pollution will, therefore, be checked.
Assurance of Life to Animals
One of the greatest risks of using plastic bags has been their threat to wildlife and especially marine life. Birds get entangled in the polythene paper as they fly. They end up dropping on the ground and their lives cut short. When the papers are consumed, their indigestible nature means that the stomach of the animal will be affected. It gets worse for marine animals that eat them unknowingly in the sea. They clog their stomachs leading to death. Eco-friendly bags will degenerate in dumpsites and other disposal areas. They do not fly to wildlife areas or water bodies, leaving animals safer in their natural environment.
Awareness of the Need to Keep the Environment Clean
There is a psychological element to reusing packaging bags. It sends a mental signal that bags and other items do not have to be disposed of after the first usage. This principle is applied to other parts of life leading to a slowdown in disposal and an increase in repair and reuse. The world will be using fewer resources and still deliver the convenience required for packaging and transportation.
It is less expensive to use reusable shopping bags compared to previously preferred polythene packaging bags. The price of the polythene bags is not significantly different from that of the reusable bags. However, for every on the reusable bag a person uses, he replaces five or six plastic bags. When the costs are compared, accumulative cost of plastic bags is higher than that of reusable bags. This cost reduction will favor retailers and buyers alike. Retailers do not have to include the cost of packaging bags in their operational cost. The price of commodities also consequently reduces.
There are fewer eco-friendly bags used compared to polythene bags. The fact that the bags are reused means that they will not be disposed of in large volumes. Instead of the 350-400 bags that an individual would use for polythene bags, one ends up using less than 50 in a year. This means that there is less litter to dispose of. Further, the size of garbage will reduce since the reusable bags decompose faster. These bags are easy to recycle compared to only 10% of polythene bags that recycle around the world.
The process of recycling and disposal of polythene bags does not guarantee clean air. A lot of toxic fumes are produced which lead to air pollution. This means that recycling of these papers does not in any way guarantee clean air. With only 10% of these bags being recycled, it would be an environmental disaster to recycle the entire 100% of polythene bags. Using reusable grocery bags first reduces the need to recycle the plastic bags. It also reduces their number and therefore provides a healthier environment even with recycling. The environment is also cleaner since reusing the environmentally friendly bags does not release toxic fumes into the air yet is a form of recycling. You will get more value for the same material.
The environment and by extension human beings are the biggest beneficiaries when you use reusable bags. There is less pollution of air and a physical environment without affecting the convenience of packaging. The reusable bags also instill a sense of care for the environment which gives the world a healthier place to live.