Recycle? Return? Reuse?
We all shop and unless we remember to take our own shopping bags we can end up with a huge pile of plastic shopping bags at home. Below are some tips for reuse, recycle, and cutting back on this accumulation.
Plastic bags can take up to a thousand years to decompose and are generally terrible for the environment.
- You can certainly buy a specially made bag holder, but you can also recycle an empty tissue box and use it to dispense the bags. All you do is loop the bottom of each bag through the handle of the one below it and stuff, so as you pull out a fresh one, the next one will pop up ready to be used for recycling or dog-walking (this also saves on purchasing doggie poo bags). You can also choose to just easily push them into the tissue box and retrieve the balled up bag.
- You can place a small box or even just use one of the empty shopping bags to collect the ones you bring home. Then, the next time you return to the grocery store take them with you and put them in the store’s plastic bag recycle bin. Or you can reuse them when you or the cashier bags your new items. They don’t have to just be from the grocery store you shop at. You can also turn in ones at the same time from Target, Walmart, convenience stores, and retail shops.
- To stop accumulating so many bags take your own bags to the store. These are relatively cheap to purchase (and you can sometimes receive them free from retail stores and companies) and many are foldable to take up little space in your purse or car. You can use sturdy plastic style bags for meats that are easy to wipe clean if they get wet. Cloth bags can be used for everything else. Even the smaller plastic bags used for produce and bulk items can be swapped for small cloth or net bags.
“A Bag’s Life” in North Carolina
A Bag’s Life is a public education campaign that unites non-profits, business, community and government organizations around the common goal of promoting the three R’s as they relate to plastic bags — reduce, reuse and recycle. Partners include Keep North Carolina Beautiful, the North Carolina Retail Merchants Association, Trex and the Progressive Bag Affiliates of the American Chemistry Council. Participating statewide retailers include Food Lion, Harris-Teeter, Ingles, Kroger, Lowe’s Foods, Lowes Home Improvement Warehouse, Target, and Walmart.