Updated: Apr 29, 2019
Plastic bags used at grocery stores are made of plastic number #4. This plastic is ideal for grocery bags because it can carry 2,000 times its own weight. This single use product is widely popular across the country and takes many years to break down in landfills. They also harm our oceans, because in the water they look like jellyfish and are accidentally consumed by marine life. Plastic bags are not recyclable for curbside recycling because they get caught and damage recycling machinery. They can be recycled at facilities that specialize in plastic bag recycling.
Make a difference one shopping trip at a time:
1. Reusable bags are a great alternative for single use plastic. They are more durable for carrying groceries. Often times grocery stores will give you points or discounts for bringing your own bag. Some amazing Eco-friendly bags include being made from recycled plastic or re-purposed materials such as coffee sack.
2. Forgot your reusable bag? No problem, if you have these plastic bags hold onto them and return them to your local grocery store. Often times they have bins located towards the front of the store where you can recycle them. Make sure to remove all receipts, stickers, and crumbs before recycling.
3. Know which bags are not actually Eco-friendly. Plastic bags that are green colored are not actually more eco-friendly. They are commonly found in produce sections. Black plastic bags are much harder to recycle because it is dyed and will produce black pellets. Avoid the thick single use plastic bags. They can only be used about 5 times before they break and take much longer to break down in landfills.
4. Skip the bag. If you are only grabbing a handful of items that you can easily carry just ask for no bag.
5. Shop in bulk and bring your own reusable container. You can bring your own glass jars and have the cashier tear the weight. You can fill these jars up with bulk products and have them conveniently ready to go when you get home.
6. Do a plastic bag drive! Ask your family and friends to save their plastic bags for a good cause. You can make plastic bags into “Plarn” (plastic yarn). The plarn can be crocheted into mats for the homeless. These work great for the homeless because the plastic provides insulation for warmth and they provide a nice cushion to sleep on. They also are easy to roll up and carry as they are lightweight.
7. Reuse your plastic bags. They are great small trashcan liners. You can use it for packaging instead of purchasing bubble wrap. Try wrapping products in plastic bags for cushion next time you mail a package.