Making Peace with Plastic Grocery Bags


John Roach at National Geographic News writes, “Plastic bags are so cheap to produce, sturdy, plentiful, easy to carry and store that they have captured at least 80 percent of the grocery and convenience store market since they were introduced a quarter century ago.”

“As a result, the totes are everywhere. They sit balled up and stuffed into the one that hangs from the pantry door. They line bathroom trash bins. They carry clothes to the gym. They clutter landfills. They flap from trees. They float in the breeze. They clog roadside drains. They drift on the high seas. They fill sea turtle bellies.”

So what do can we do with all these plastic bags?

A Virgina-based company called Trex may have one solution.

Trex turns millions of pounds of recycled and reclaimed plastic and waste wood each year into Trex products [such as decking material and outdoor furniture]. Most of these raw materials come from recovered plastic grocery bags, plastic film, and waste wood fiber. The company recycles over 1.3 billion grocery retail bags annually.”

But, until there are more companies like Trex, what are our other options? Reuse your plastic bags.

Here are some ideas:
– pick up after your dog
– hold your wet umbrella
– cover your shoes
– use them as trash can liners
– substitute mailing fillers with plastic bags
– keep them in your car as vomit bags
– reuse them at the grocery store
– bring home your dirty gym clothes
– they can be used as an instant disposable bib

So where do I store all these plastic bags?

One easy storage option is to stuff your plastic bags into a paper towel cardboard roll. You can also make a plastic bag keeper out of a used plastic bottle.

How else can you reuse your plastic bags?


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