Sustainable Lifestyle: Why I Switched to Reusable Tote Bag

Did you know that it takes 12 million trees to supply the demand for paper shopping bags in the United States every year? The average plastic bag has a lifespan of just 20 minutes before becoming litter. That’s why more people are switching to reusable totes. In fact, more than 200 cities have enacted laws restricting or banning single-use plastic bags. And for good reason: Americans use an estimated 100 billion plastic shopping bags each year, and only about 20% are recycled. But most people don’t have time to research all the ways we can positively impact our environment with small actions like using reusable tote bags. My own journey began when I read an article that explained how plastics get from oil to your local grocery store. When you see these statistics and discover how many animals and fish are being killed because of plastics in our oceans, it changes your perspective on buying something as small as a grocery bag! So today I want to share with you what led me to ditch plastic and switch my life towards being eco-friendly as much as possible...

a person using a plastic bag for shopping

The Impact of Single-Use Shopping Bags

Single-use plastic shopping bags are a problem for many reasons. Not only do they take up excess space in landfills, but when we throw them away, the plastic breaks down and releases toxic chemicals into the soil and water. And if that wasn't enough to make you want to ditch your plastic shopping bag, then maybe the 100 billion statistics will! The average American uses about 500 disposable shopping bags each year. That's 100 billion total, which is like 10 super-sized grocery stores worth of single-use shopping bags per year. And this doesn't even include the plastic bags from fast food restaurants or other retail stores! In fact, most people don't realize that their local grocery store provides these single-use plastic bags at all. Most of us just assume they’re free because they’ve always been there. But these single-use shopping bags are costing the country huge amounts of money (about $4 billion annually) and really damaging our environment too.

Why Reusable Totes Are a Great Alternative

As I mentioned before, Americans use an estimated 100 billion plastic shopping bags each year. This number is so staggering and it’s one of the main reasons why I switched to reusable tote bags. Not only are reusables more environmentally conscious, they also save you money! After investing in my first reusable tote bag, I discovered how convenient it was to switch away from single-use plastic. Now I can buy groceries without worrying about anything spilling over or leaking. Plus, I don’t have to worry about paying for any extra plastic bags at the checkout line!

3 Reasons to Ditch the Plastic and Choose Tote Bags

There are so many benefits to going reusable, and I wanted to share a few of them with you today. 1. Protection from germs: Studies show that there are more than 10 times as many bacteria per square inch on disposable bags as there are on your hands. And those germs can easily transfer to your food or anything else you set down in the car, at the store, or even at your office desk. 2. Helps reduce litter: Plastic bags take up to 1,000 years to break down, but they can do tremendous damage in the meantime by getting caught in trees and harming animals that mistake them for food. In fact, an estimated 100 billion plastic shopping bags end up as litter each year in the U.S. alone! 3. Saving money: Forget about spending money to buy plastic shopping bags for life and instead invest in a quality reusable bag that will last for years and help save our planet!

2 Steps to Making the Switch from Plastic to Eco Bags

The first step to making the switch from plastic to reusable is simply awareness. I started by just paying attention and noticing how many single-use plastics I was using in my day-to-day life. This led me to do something that changed my life for the better: I bought a stylish, durable 45” x 35” large cotton bag with double handles and a zipper closure. You can get this type of bag at any local pet store or online. The next thing I did was start taking it with me everywhere! It now goes with me to the grocery store, library, drugstore, clothes store, book store, and so on. The second step is easy: when you need an item or purchase something new, use your reusable bags instead of purchasing a disposable one. These two steps have had an incredible impact on our home environment and family budget.

How to Pick a Good, Sturdy Reusable Bag

When you’re ready to purchase a reusable bag, make sure it’s sturdy and made with quality materials that will last. You should also choose a size that works for you. If you have kids, you’ll need a bigger bag to carry their goods home. Or maybe if you are carrying a lot of groceries from the store, you might want to get a larger bag so the items don't burst out the top. The fabric and stitching of your reusable bag should be strong enough to handle heavy grocery items like milk jugs or canned produce without splitting or tearing. And finally, when choosing your new eco-friendly carrier, think about how often you go shopping and what types of stores you usually shop at as this will help determine the size of your reusable bag. You might even want two sizes: one for small trips like buying milk at the corner store and another for grocery shopping at Trader Joe's or Costco.

The Importance of Quality When Buying Locally Made Tote Bag

What most people don’t realize is that when you buy a tote bag, you’re buying more than just the fabric. You are also buying the quality of the stitching and the type of threading that will be used to assemble the bag. For example, there are some companies that use polyester threading because it is cheaper and faster but it doesn’t last as long. If you buy a cheaper bag with polyester threading, it will eventually start to break down and show wear and tear which will cause it to become unusable. Cheap bags not only look bad but they also fail quickly which makes them an awful purchase in the first place. To avoid this, opt for a brand that uses cotton threading or even better yet linen threading if budget allows. Cotton is soft and durable which means your bag should last for years without any signs of wear or tear.

Wrapping Up

In this blog post, I've shared with you why I switched to a reusable tote bag. Hopefully, if you're trying to start living more eco-friendly, this post has been helpful.