Annually, Americans throw away a whopping 100 billion plastic bags. According to a 2004 study by Worldwatch Institute, that’s the energy equivalent of 12 million barrels of oil. Most plastics bags end up in streams or other bodies of water where they clog up the waterways and cause long-term and life-threatening damage to the marine life. Virtually non-biodegradable, plastic bags will stay wherever they end up being dumped for nearly 1,000 before they start to “break down”. To put it simply, the usage of plastic bags is in no way beneficial to the environment or the future generations.
But being an environmentally conscious shopper means more than just avoiding the usage of plastics bags. Here, we share a couple of tips.
- Bring your own reusable bag. This has been a popular trend in the recent years. Shoppers have been bringing their own reusable bags to tote their groceries and purchases home instead of using the plastic bags given out at the store. Many stores themselves are now selling reusable bags and give out a small discount for customers who opt to use reusable bags instead of plastics bags. In the long run, using reusable shopping bags could be quite profitable, who knew?
- Avoid products that use a lot of packaging. For some products this can’t be avoided such as electronics and such but this tip is simple to apply to food. Try to buy fresh food. The fresher it is, the more likely it is to have less packaging. Because if you think about it, pre-packaged foods such as microwave dinners and snack bars most likely contain more artificial preservatives than fresh foods. Not a concrete rule but just something to keep in mind.
- Buy in bulk. This tip ties in with the one above. Buying in bulk cuts down on all the extra bells and whistles of conventional packaging. And if that’s not enough reason to buy in bulk, it’s an economical choice too!
- Support you local farmer’s market. This is a win-win situation for your local agricultural community and for environment. By buying local you’ll be supporting local farmers. Plus, the fruits and veggies found at farmer’s markets need not to travel cross-country before it arrives at your plate, helping prevent unnecessary greenhouse gas emissions.