Reusable Bags Better Option for Environment Than Recycling
Eco-Cycle Offers Reminder about Reusable Bags and Climate Change
The City of Boulder recently passed a plastic bag fee in an effort to reduce plastic bag use and the negative impact disposable bags have on the environment.
In a wonderful letter to the editor, Randy Moorman, Community Campaigns Manager at Eco-Cycle in Boulder, recently broke down why reusable bags are in fact a better decision than recycling disposable plastic bags and we loved it. Moorman clearly poses counterarguments to a guest commentary piece that ran in a Boulder newspaper and we wanted to share his thoughts.
Recycling Helps the Environment
A lot of hard work has been done to educate people on the merits of recycling – and there are many. Once items have outlived their usefulness, recycling keeps non-biodegradable trash out of landfills and gives new use to materials like reusable bags made from recycled materials. Recycling rates are continuing to steadily climb and this is a testament to all of the hard work countless people have put in to get the word out and make recycling accessible.
While there are lots of great aspects concerning recycling it is really just a way to make the best of a bad situation. Recycling diverts trash away from landfills and prevents materials from piling up. Utilizing reusable items further helps the cause and diverts materials not just out of landfills, but also delays items from reaching the recycling bin.
Negative Impact of Plastic Bags
Plastic bags create a lot of environmental harm. They clog landfills and potentially delay biodegradable materials from breaking down, they collect in drains and canals and can cause severe drainage problems and flooding. A byproduct of the plastic bag manufacturing process is greenhouse gases, which build up and are responsible for a whole slew of environmental dangers.
When consumers use reusable bags, they reduce the need for disposable plastic bags and fewer plastic bags equals fewer of the above-mentioned problems. People sing the praises of recycling plastic bags however; disposable bags are tricky to recycle.
Due to their lightweight construction, they are easily lifted from recycling bins by strong gusts of wind and carried off never making it to a recycling facility. Not all recycling locations can accommodate plastic bags and those that can have a hard time handling the bags because they have a tendency to jam the machinery.
Reusable Shopping Bags Always Win Over Disposable Plastic Bags
When a shopper brings reusable grocery bags to the store instead of using the disposable plastic bags provided, there are fewer plastic bags put into circulation. One shopper can use hundreds of plastic bags a year, and eliminating that usage can add up to a very substantial amount of plastic that is not dumped in a landfill or litters the environment or is recycled into a new plastic bag.
Reusable grocery bags require some getting used to, shoppers need to remember to bring their bags when they shop and the bags need to be cleaned on a periodic basis, but for all the good they do for our environment, reusable bags are certainly worth the effort, right?