As our consumer society moves to sustainable fashion processes, it's important to understand a few of the basics about sustainable options. When discussing "sustainability," the conversation of "paper or plastic" is often brought into conversation. Waiting in line to check out at the grocery store, customers discuss which is the better option. While one option might be better, it's fair to ask if either option is the most environmentally conscious?
It’s no secret that plastic bags present a very real environmental concern; millions of non-biodegradable plastic bags are thrown out yearly rather than recycled. Currently approximately 1% of plastic bags are recycled, using an inefficient process, which is more expensive than the cost of producing plastic bags. State legislatures have begun to notice this issue, resulting in a number of cities across the United States (i.e. Washington D.C., Chicago, Seattle, and San Francisco) enacting plastic bag bans and fees. This widespread knowledge of the environmental impact of plastic bags has resulted in large amounts of consumers abandoning plastic bags choosing to opt for the more environmentally friendly paper grocery bag. While paper bags are a vast improvement on their plastic counterpart, paper bags are still largely single-use and contribute greatly to landfill waste.
So, when asked paper or plastic? We encourage you to say "reusable bags."
Reusable bags may cost a little more up front when compared to paper and plastic, but these grocery bag alternatives are durable and versatile. Many retailers like Target, Whole Foods, and Trader Joes even offer a small discount when you bring your own bags to the store. Reusable bags most obviously function as ideal alternatives to traditional paper or plastic grocery bags, but there are so many amazing ways you can use these inexpensive bags!
- Load up your towel and sunblock and head to the beach! Reusable bags are durable and easy to clean, making them the perfect bag for a beach adventure.
- Use as a gift bag. Reusable bags are almost the same price as disposable gift bags and serve as wonderful gifts by themselves! Wrap your Christmas gifts sustainably this year and give a gift friends can use all year long.
- Collect and carry your recyclables. Keep a reusable bag by the trash to collect all your recyclables, then just grab it on your way out the door when the bag is full. The bag’s long handles will make it easier to carry than paper bags or bins.
- Take with you to the gym. Reusable bags are an inexpensive alternative to gym bags and, I’ll say it again, easy to clean. Throw a change of clothes, a water bottle, and a pair of shoes in, then you’re ready to go.
- Head out on a road trip. Pack your shoes in a reusable bag to keep your clothes fresh or use a reusable bag for short overnight trips that don't require a suitcase.
There are many reasons to incorporate reusable bags into your life, but my final (and favorite) reason is because it gives you an opportunity to promote brands you care about. I personally use my LMC Reusable Tote all the time, whether it's to carry my groceries, shop at a local boutique, or pack for a quick weekend getaway. Currently, LMC offers several reusable bag options to replace your single-use items.
LMC's signature red cross reusable bag collection offers a simple and durable option. The signature line comes in three sizes - small, medium and large. They largest option works perfectly for carrying groceries, while the medium size serves as a great lunch bag. When carrying this bag, you are not only sending the message that you care about sustainability, but that you support LMC's sea turtle and ocean conservation efforts.
This year, LMC added a new sustainable bag to its collection - the organic reusable produce manatee bag. Bring one of these bags to the grocery store and skip the single-use plastic bags in the produce section! Pre-shrunk and made from organic, breathable cotton, this bag can be used to store other small items as well, such as jewelry when traveling.
It can be difficult to choose sustainable options when traveling, but with LMC's reusable travel bags, you can travel and reduce your carbon footprint. Air-tight and BPA free, these reusable bags are awesome for transporting liquids, toiletries, jewelry, and medications. You can also use them as “catch-alls” in your gym or beach bag.
As we approach the holidays, make sure to encourage others to say "reusable bags," when discussing paper or plastic. This holiday season, make a eco-resolution to use your reusable bags, then share your creative, sustainable solutions with us on Instagram by tagging @TortugaTrends.
Be a trendy turtle and shop sustainably!