Most of us have heard of the many environmental challenges facing our world – global warming, deforestation, increased pollution. And while it is easy to think that the issue is too big for us to make a difference, that is far from the reality.
Every little bit helps and it all starts with your daily choices, even when it comes to the simple things…like bags. And that’s why reusable bags are a great place to start.
Replacing snack, food, sandwich and shopping bags with reusable alternatives is a smart decision that will ensure you are doing something, even if only a small thing, that will contribute to a better world.
As Jeff Bridges says in the video below…
“Plastic is a substance the earth cannot digest. And every bit of plastic that has ever been created still exists….By refusing disposable plastics you can improve the health of the environment and ocean around us, including human health and animal health”.
Pretty compelling reasons to ditch the plastic in favor of environmentally friendly reusable bags and packaging. If you need any more convincing, read this article.
Let’s take a closer look at reusable bags and why they are better for everyone.
Types of Reusable Bags
There are a variety of reusable bags available in different sizes and for a range of uses. Not only are they available in diverse sizes, there are loads of fantastic designs with lots of lively colors and patterns to choose from. This makes them both nice to look at while being very practical. They are particularly appealing to kids.
With their great durability, you will get a lot of use out of them for a long time to come. Here’s a few different options:
Reusable Snack Bags – these are a great choice for snacks and small portions of food and replace single use ziploc style bags. But, they are also great for small items like mobile phones, small cameras, toiletries, makeup, pens/pencils/crayons, travel items etc. They can be used in school bags, hand bags or when travelling.
Reusable Sandwich Bags – larger than the snack bags and usually square shaped. They are ideal for sandwiches, bread rolls and larger items. Like the snack bags, they can be used in a range of situations.
Reusable Grocery Bags – available in a huge number of colours and sizes, these bags are durable enough to handle heavy items as most have reinforced handles and bottom. The larger styles also have a good capacity that makes it easy to carry large quantities of groceries.
Reusable Produce Bags – these are for to use both when shopping for and storing your produce. They are a lighter, mesh style bag that allows the produce to breath while allowing you to see what is in each bag. They are also great for storing small wet items and bathtub toys.
What Are Reusable Bags Made Of
The snack and sandwich bags are usually made of 100% cotton on the outside with the inside lined to make them moisture resistant. This makes them very simple to clean.
You can clean them in the top rack of the dishwasher, in the washing machine or simply wipe them over with a moist sponge. Depending on how quickly you need to reuse your bags, they can be dried either in your dryer or air-dried.
Grocery bags can be made from a variety of materials including non woven fabric, canvas, cloth, paper and recycled materials. There are also some options made from plastic, and while these aren’t ideal, reusable options of any kind are better than single use plastic bags..
Apart from the paper option, these can be machine washed and then dried. Over time they may need to be replaced due to wear and tear, but they can last for years.
Lastly, the produce bags are primarily made from polyester, while some are made from recycled plastic. While this is a synthetic material, it is still preferable to use them than the single use plastic alternatives.
Why Reusable Bags Are A Great Choice
There are lots of great reasons to start using…and reusing…reusable bags. A few have already been mentioned above, but here’s some more.
Once you start with reusable bags, there is no need to continually purchase snack, sandwich or other bags to keep in the cupboard. The bags you buy will last a long time and while they will need to be replaced at some stage, it will be through wear and tear, not because they are a single use disposable.
Buying less single use bags means you will save money and it will add up to quite a bit over time. It is easy for a family of four to waste around $100 a year just on lunch and snack bags which are thrown away.
Using reusable snack bags will save that money so you can spend it on something else more important to your family.
As mentioned above (see video), we all can use a ridiculous amount of plastic in a year. Typically, a person can use about 500 sandwich and snack bags a year.
If you think about it, this figure is not far fetched as we often use these bags not only for food but lots of other bits and pieces too. For a family of four those statistics increase rapidly.
You can certainly feel good about protecting the environment by decreasing your household waste.
Fun, bright prints make for more fun all round – reusable bags certainly aren’t boring. You can choose from hundreds of colors, patterns and designs in a style you love.
In particular, this is great for your kids, and makes food a bit more fun. Especially those that always seem to “forget” to eat their lunch!
Simple to Clean
All reusable bags are super easy to clean.
With snack and sandwich bags, there is no need to worry about jam, honey or crumbs getting trapped in the corners. Just open up and either clean with a cloth or just put it in the washing machine or dishwasher.
For shopping and produce bags, hand wash or throw them in the machine.
There are really so many things these bags can be used for – think beyond food! Anytime you would normally grab a plastic bag for something, think about a reusable alternative.
Of course, they are great for lunches, picnics and snacks, but some other amazing uses include holding coupons, frequent shopper cards, iPods/iPhones, jewelry, note pads, pens, small toys, smart phone, tea bags, and wet wipes.
They are also really popular with athletes, gym enthusiasts and weekend sports people.
So now you know why reusable bags are better for you AND the world. If you haven’t already, start to replace single use plastic bags with reusable options wherever you can.
Start to make a conscious effort and it will quickly become a habit. I started with making sure I always had shopping bags in my car and now I don’t even think about it. They are always there when I need them.
The more you use reusable bags, feel confident you are doing something to help yourself while benefiting the environment.