How to stop using plastic bags?

Photo of a plastic grocery bag

I cannot believe it was not so long ago when I was a great consumer of plastic bags. They accumulated like no other thing in my house. We reused them as much as we could: for garbage in some small trash cans, to carry other things etc. But there were always tons of them to throw in the garbage; I had no use for them.

Then Whole Foods supermarket started to offer recycling for plastic bags and right after Wal-mart did the same in our area. Of course recycling is not the best solution. About 500 billion plastic bags are used every year worldwide. They cause horrible environmental pollution and take about 1,000 years to decompose.

Since Ikea started to charge $0.05 for each plastic bag, consumption when down by 98%. In my favorite shops Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods, a lot of people bring their own reusable bags. Even in the normal discount supermarkets where I buy a lot of my veggies (organic and conventional), I am noticing that people are bringing more of their bags.

The reusable bags are a lot prettier and strong. I am so happy that every day more and more people are using their own bags most of the time. There are still a lot of people who are not using reusable bags. I think the shops should charge for each bag like they do in Ikea and in Ireland. That way those of us who bring our own bags are not subsidizing the people who use bags, either paper or plastic.

Besides, to dispose the plastic bags is also expensive. Paper bags are not a good choice either. The choice is reusable, non-PVC bags or cloth bags. But reusing the bags you already have is a good alternative even if they are plastic.

With oil prices going up so quickly it is even more important now to lower our consumption of any byproduct of oil and plastics is one of them. Besides they are awful looking, they have no personality; the reusable bags can be beautiful almost an accessory.