Everybody is talking about ways to "go green" these days in an effort to reduce our carbon footprint on the world, or in other words, use less of the world's natural resources that are not renewable. The whole green topic can be confusing because you have to wonder if something you do as an individual can really have an impact. We are trained to separate out our newspapers, glass products and metal cans to be picked up by big blue recycling trucks, but in truth, the actual impact on the environment may be small because very few of the materials collected could actually be recycled. Only 1-3% of plastic bags, for instance, can be recycled.
However, there are a few things you can do in your own home to help the cause that will not cost extra money, or will even save money in the long run. This article kicks off our Go Green series.
Did you know that over one BILLION free plastic bags are given out every day? Think about how many bags you get when you check out at your grocery store-especially when they double-bag it! These bags are not only expensive to create, they are environmentally unsound. According to a great website, reusablebags.com, plastic bags are bad for these reasons:
- Petroleum, a non-renewable resource, is requred to make plastic bags.
- Hundreds of thousands of marine life, including turtles and whales, mistake the bags for food and die each year.
- Plastic bags do not biodegrade, they photodegrade, which means that small, yet toxic bits of the bags wind up in our soil and then in our crops and water supply.
- Paper bags are no better-the energy and amount of trees used each year worldwide to make paper bags is staggering.
So what is the answer? Reusable bags. Many supermarkets, from Whole Foods to some local shops, now sell reusable bags and will even give you a discount for using them. It may be a hard habit to get into at first, but if you keep a couple of these in your car, for instance, it will be easier to grab one when you run out to the store or make an unexpected stop.
In the end, it may not seem like a big change for the greater good, but you would be surprised to learn how your conversion to reusable bags can make an impact on the environment, both by saving energy but also by teaching those around you (kids included) a new habit.