We've all heard that we should be using reusable grocery bags, that's nothing new. So why are we still seeing so many people walking out of the store with the single-use plastic bags? We'd like to think that many people intend to bring their reusables but just forget or haven't made the conscious decision to change that lifestyle habit. So here are a few tips to help you reframe and revamp your reusable bag use.
1. Choose reusable bags that spark joy!
This may sound silly, but it works! I remember when I was making the change from single-use plastic to reusable shopping bags, and I just kept forgetting them! My intentions were sincere and I wanted to stop using plastic, but I just never had them with me when I needed them and was left with no choice but to use the store's plastic bags. I noticed that once I got a couple of reusable bags that I really liked, I was excited to use them and they were always with me!
2. Keep your reusables in the car (or a place that's conducive to your grocery shopping routine).
If you find yourself forgetting your bags (like I did), make a habit of keeping them in the trunk of your car or wherever makes sense for your grocery store routine. I don't have a set grocery store schedule and always make impromptu trips, so having my bags in the car with me is key. Once I'm done unloading my groceries, I put my bags right next the garage door so I don't forget them the next time I head out to my car.
3. Use and reuse and reuse again... hundreds of times!
Research varies in specifics, but it has all shown that bags need to be reused multiple times before they have a significant environmental and carbon footprint benefit when compared to single-use plastic bags (UK study, Danish study, US study). So what's the best reusable bag? The one you're going to use over and over and over again! Of course, if you can find a bag that you love that's made out of recycled material and donates to the Nature Conservancy like my cute shoe bag, then that's just a cherry on top!
In case you haven't heard of why this is such an important topic and how plastic bags are devastating the environment, here are a couple of facts and visuals to take with you:
100 billion plastic bags are used in the United Sates every year, and only 1% of those get recycled. The other 99 billion bags end up in landfills where it'll take 1000+ years for them to decompose.
Plastic bags pose a HUGE threat to marine life, and they kill 100,000 marine animals every year. This is when we start to get heated...
100,000 marine animals are killed every year by plastic bags! No habit is worth this!
We know that changing routines can be hard and sometimes making the sustainable choice can be a bit more expensive or inconvenient, but this one is a no-brainer! We promise, once you do make the change to reusables you'll NEVER go back to those flimsy, animal-killing, single-use plastic grocery bags ever again. So, go find a few bags that you love and start reusing them!