Shopping can be quite the adventure with the plethora of merchandise options available to you. Before these choices pile up it is time to decide on the simplest way to green your shopping experience. Paper, plastic or tote, oh my?! Once you decide and prepare your choice of bag, shopping will not only be a breath of fresh air, it will also be an event you are proud to participate in.
Letís tackle plastic bags first. Plastic bags are created from oil and take about one thousand years to break down in a landfill. There are tens of thousands of plastic bags in the ocean, and sadly, ocean critters can be harmed by these floating dangers. Due to these environmental strains several countries and states have banned or taxed the use of plastic bags at stores.
Paper must be better, right? Not so fast. Paper is created from trees. Those trees must be chopped down and then go through a chemical process requiring electric and toxicity before ever becoming a paper bag. This is quite a harmful adventure for the tree and for the planet. Paper, although recyclable, whereas plastic bags are not, take more chemicals and electric to be recycled.
In the end, this leaves us with the tote bag. To start and to not incur a high cost to go green with a tote, begin by looking around your house and find any size tote bags. Perhaps you have old tote bags you received at your childís school PTA meeting or from donating to an organization. Dig all of those out, assess which sizes will work for you and take them to the market. See how many groceries they are able to hold.
If you would like to search for a cotton, canvas, or fancy tote bag for shopping, you can look online to purchase these items. Be sure to look in your search for a bag that fits your shopping needs. For example, if you would like bags for the grocery store and you have a longer drive in a warmer climate, look for insulated bags. If you are not able to carry heavy bags, look for smaller ones and be sure to pack those bags with equal weight at the market. Another example is if you would like bags for clothes shopping or other lightweight shopping. For those retail sprees, feel free to search for bags that are smaller and perhaps fancier to put you in that clothes shopping mood.
Cotton and canvas totes that are labeled with the Global Organic Textile Standard or as organic cotton are processed in a healthier way for the environment, and thus would be your greenest investment.
It is important to pay attention to ensuring that using your chosen bags is simple for you in order to guarantee continued use. Set up a system for use that fits your lifestyle. For example, if you use a certain car to get the groceries, return those bags to that car immediately after every market tripís goodies are unloaded in the kitchen. If you are more of a visual person who utilizes hooks by your front door, then hang those bags right in view to grab on your way out. For those of you who have children, involve them in this bag quest. Ask one or more to be responsible for bringing those bags with you to the grocery store. This task can be rewarded with a special treat that you make together once home from the market, and it teaches them about environmentally helpful choices at the same time.
So, there you have it. The greenest choice is to reuse with a cotton or canvas tote bag. Happy shopping!