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Always carry a reusable bag

Most people by now know that single-use plastic grocery bags are going the way of the dinosaurs (quite literally, in fact, since plastic is made from fossil fuels, which in turn are derived from fossilized plant and animal matter from millions of years ago).

Although they are billed for their “convenience,” grocery bags are extremely inconvenient for the planet:

  • It’s estimated that we use 4 TRILLION plastic bags each year worldwide
  • Besides being made from fossil fuels, the average plastic bag is only used for 10-20 minutes (just think about how quickly you can get from the grocery store to your house)
  • Unfortunately, that plastic bag lives on much, much longer — perhaps as much as 1,000 years in a landfill
  • What’s worse, plastic grocery bags aren’t recyclable curbside. In fact, plastic bags spell big trouble for recycling facilities, getting caught in the machinery and slowing or even halting the entire recycling process. They’re called ‘tanglers’ by professionals in the recycling business for a reason…
  • According to Waste Management, only 1% of grocery bags are returned to grocery stores for recycling

So we know that we should never use plastic grocery bags, but sometimes you get to the store and realize you left your reusable shopping bag at home. We know, we’ve been there too!

The key to improving our environmental behavior is to make a plan, and build your environmental muscle memory: Put your recyclable bags somewhere that will ensure you always remember to bring them with you —

If you drive to the store, keep your bags in your car. If you bike, keep them in your basket. If you walk, store your reusable bags near your front door.

If always remembering to bring your reusable bags means you need to store them in your refrigerator, do that!

Through this act of green, you have created a concrete plan to ensure you will always have your reusable grocery bags on hand when you need them. But it only counts if you stick to the plan, so build a plan and keep to it!