Every time you go to the grocery store and let the retailer pack your groceries in either plastic or paper bags, I'd like you to feel “bag guilt.” How else could you feel once you are aware of how senseless it is to waste all of those bags when you could just bring your own.
Obviously, paper bags are made from trees which are essential to the global ecosystem, but did you know that making paper bags produces 70 percent more pollution than making plastic bags? And making paper bags instead of their plastic counterparts requires 4 times more energy and 3 times more water. Surprisingly, it takes 90 percent more energy to recycle a pound of paper than a pound of plastic. And, believe it or not, many paper bags do not degrade any faster than plastic bags.
So after hearing this you must be thinking in the paper vs plastic debate you should choose plastic bags, right? Wrong! Plastic bags are bad for animals and birds who eat them thinking they are food. Plastic bags literally jam up the intestinal tracts of wildlife causing them to starve and ultimately die. And plastic bags may take up to 1000 years to breakdown in a landfill!
Are you feeling guilty? Good. That is my goal. However, don't worry, as the solution is easy. Next time you go to the store, bring your own bags. If you don't have one, just ask your supermarket, and I am sure they will sell you a few. In fact, many stores will give you back money every time you bring your own bags.
Of course you will forget them in the car at first, but just remember that guilty feeling. Take the extra time to go out to your car and proudly hand them to the cashier. I promise, you will begin to feel better about your positive impact on the environment.