Why are we still using plastic bags?

Instead of boring you with university studies stating why single-use plastic bags are bad for the planet, statistics of how much plastic bags we used per day, or showing you pictures of dead birds with plastics inside of them, or a turtle choking on a plastic bag. I would like to have a conversation on why are we still using single-use plastic bags?

Single-use Plastic bags are weak, on average they can only carry six items per bag. Now many supermarkets have discount programs where they give us 10 cents per reusable bag back on our purchase, so now it is even indirectly costing us money. I don’t even have to think about the environment-impact, even though there are many, to wonder why are we still stuck purchasing like we are back in the 1960s. Single-Use plastic bags have been manufactured for over 59 years. The first one that was manufactured will start decaying in about 941 years. Not bad for an item that was used to carry a bag of bread.

Don’t get me wrong I do not have anything against plastic itself, I think is an essential material for medical equipment for example. My purpose is not to challenge the purpose of the single-use plastic bag but to challenge the story that we have told ourselves to believe that using 8 to 10 plastic weak grocery bags are better than just carrying 2-3 of any other type of bags.

I would like to challenge you today with two questions:
1.) Why do I think plastic bags are the best option to carry my groceries from the supermarket to my home?
2.) Is there a better practical option?

Pay close attention to those two questions, I am not asking you to go hug a tree, or buy a trendy reusable bag. I don’t think the wasteful issue of single-use plastic bags ending up in our landfills, lakes, beaches, or from time to time backyards will be fixed by anyone getting a paper bag once or twice. However, I think our minds are a powerful thing that when we make a conscious decision of changing a habit in a practical way we can solve anything.

We have the means to end this issue this year if we want to.
Paper bags are stronger, now they make them with handles, not like the good old days that you had to carry the bags from the bottom, oh and they can carry more items per bag, and are compostable.

The same thing goes for cloth reusable bags which are even better because they can be reused, can carry more items than plastic bags and are also compostable (assuming is 100% cotton).

These simple alternatives didn’t just hit the market this month, so how come we still use plastic bags?

Because that’s what my grocery store provides?
I think is a forced habit and the human tendency of waiting for others to take care of a known problem. Seth Godin wrote in one of his books that “Successful marketers are just the providers of stories that consumers choose to believe.” I think the same holds true with the relationship between groceries and plastic bags. Groceries stores don’t give us plastic bags for our groceries because they do not care about the environment. I am sure Walmart would prefer not to buy millions of plastic bags and pocket that expense as profit instead of providing us with plastic bags. Grocery stores provide plastic bags because of we, the customer, grew used to expecting the cashiers to pack our groceries in plastic bags.
Corporations might have the buying power but individuals as a group have the decision power over what we get them to buy, we just have to speak up and challenge our habits every 59 years. 😉

Now, I know I already challenged your mind, but now I want to challenge your actions. What can we do to make a difference in our immediate community by the end of 2019?

Today’s Featured Photographer:  David Clode

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