Say “no thanks” to the plastic bag

February 13, 2024

Plastic bags can be found almost everywhere. We see them in stores and restaurants, piling up in our homes, floating in creeks and rivers, and blowing around like tumbleweeds outdoors.

Sadly, once the bags escape into nature, they stay there, breaking down into tiny pieces that harm wildlife and pollute our soil and water. Here are some tips to help reduce plastic bag waste.

How to reduce plastic bag waste

  • Avoid the bag when you make a small purchase. If you only have one or two items, let the clerk know you don’t need a bag.
  • Switch to reusable bags. You probably have plenty of these you’ve collected over the years. Search around the house for extra tote bags and store shopping bags.
  • Do you need reusable bags? Look for them as giveaway items at public events, fairs, and conferences. Most stores sell them at a nominal price.
  • Make your own reusable bags from old T-shirts.
  • Do you sometimes forget your reusable bags? Choose paper bags, if they are offered, as they hold more. Paper bags have many uses at home. Clean, empty paper bags can be recycled with mixed paper or torn into shreds and added to your backyard compost bin.
  • Clean your reusable bags. Some can go into the washing machine, and others can be wiped out. Allow the bags to dry completely before you use them again.
  • Find creative ways to repurpose plastic bags. You can use them as trash can liners, to pick up pet waste, or even for crafts and art projects.
  • Empty, clean plastic bags and films, such as shopping bags, dry cleaning bags, shipping “pillows,” bubblewrap, and plastic wrappers from cases of water bottles and other drinks, are accepted for recycling in some retail stores, such as grocery stores or department stores. Look for the plastic bag recycling bins where you shop.

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