Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Just say NO to plastic bags!

Christmas shopping season is among us.  Everyone is out buying gifts and toys for children, families and loved ones.  We are out shopping till we drop this season - and where exactly do all of these purchases go?  Most likely a plastic bag.

This doesn't seem like that big of a deal, that is until you get home and you realize that you have been collecting more plastic bags than gifts themselves.  They are so freely given, baggers don't even ask if you want one anymore it is just an assumption that plastic is all you have to carry your purchases out to your car/home.  These little bags just sit in our homes collecting until there are just so many we can't store them anymore.  I however, have found 2 different solutions to this problem.

  • Say "NO!" to plastic bags, or any disposable packaging if possible

Before I even think of going to the store I bring along my handy recycled reusable grocery bag.  With two of them you can take home almost everything you buy and they are much sturdier.  You don't need to worry about double bagging the milk (how wasteful) and you don't have 15 little bags to take in after you get home, just one bag per hand.  It is convenient and efficient.  Plus, after you get home you don't have to find a place to stuff all those extra plastic bags.  Moreover, you don't have to worry about what it does to the environment if you were to throw them away.  No worrying  about the increasing swarm of plastic floating in the ocean harming marine life and polluting our shores.  You will no longer be contributing to the over 1 trillion plastic bags used each year with only 1 of every 200 being recycled.  If you are interested in purchasing one or learning more about why we should stop using plastic bags I have found a great link: http://www.reuseit.com/facts-and-myths/learn-more-facts-about-the-plastic-bag-pandemic.htm

Another instance to refuse plastic bags wouldn't just be at the grocery store but at the food counter.  While preparing your sandwich and a drink they get out a plastic bag to put one napkin and your sandwich.  Is it really worth it?  Although it is an automatic reflex for the employees to start putting your food in a bag, you can quickly intervene and say "oh, I don't need one".  Who knows it might inspire the guy waiting in line behind you to do the very same thing.  
Finally, as a woman I have my handbag on me at most times.  It's intended purpose was to carry things.  So, when you buy small things throughout the day do you really need all these plastic bags accumulating or could you just quickly pop it into your hand bag?  Each time you say no to a plastic bag you are saving not only the ocean from being more polluted but you are reducing the demand on the production of plastic bags.  Although small, our impact is the beginning to a global trend to save the earth.

  • Recycle for the benefit of society
There are already a ton of plastic bags in your home if you have just started using reusable bags.  You don't want to throw them away because it is bad for the environment.  However, you are unable to use them all again.  You can either go to the grocery store and recycle them (which only takes certain types of plastic) or you can "upcycle" them.

If you want to help the community and be good to the environment, why don't you take those used plastic bags and start a craft project for a cause.  More specifically I am talking about helping the homeless.  A few days ago I saw a project online about these women crocheting together a plastic sleeping mat for the homeless.  Seeing that there are a lot of homeless in my community that could use some help too I decided to put my bags to use as well.  You can follow this project and gather bags to re-purpose them for a better use such as this, or you can come up with your own project on how to recycle these bags.

What should be taken from this though is that there is always many different creative solutions to helping the environment, and to get yourself and others engaged its always more fun to take a creative route.  Normal recycling is great, but it isn't something that you are excited to do everytime you use these bags.  So, what I want you to take from this is to not just recycle but make it fun, and make it powerful.  Every time I come home to my project I feel motivated to help others and I remember why I am doing all of this in the first place.  Also it makes others very curious about my projects as well, which is a talking point allowing you a platform to make others more aware of their impact on the globe.

Overall I hope now you all will say "NO!" to these wasteful plastic bags, because the more we reduce the less we need to find ways to recycle.  

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