By Joanne Camas, Epicurious.com
Just like bottled water, plastic grocery bags are a hot-button topic. Some countries have banned them; others encourage a charge for them at the checkout. Still, around the world shoppers use 500 billion to one trillion single-use plastic bags per year, says the Rethinking Plastics Campaign. In the U.S., 95 percent of us ask for plastic bags at the checkout.
While plastic uses valuable resources and is not biodegradable, paper's no environmental bargain either. Here, the production costs for both, according to MSNBC: "To make all the bags we use each year, it takes 14 million trees for paper and 12 million barrels of oil for plastic. The production of paper bags creates 70 percent more air pollution than plastic, but plastic bags create four times the solid waste."
Of course, there is a third choice: Bring your own reusable totes for groceries. Most supermarkets sell them fairly inexpensively, or you can even make your own cloth bags. The Morsbag site has all the info -- it helps people make bags to give away at supermarkets and local events, and tells you how many plastic bags you are keeping out of the landfill by your efforts.
So, how do you shop:
Do you ask for plastic bags?
Do you choose paper bags?
Do you actually remember to carry your own cloth bags to the store?
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Photo: CN Digital Studio