It seems simple to get rid of our ruddy terrible habit of using plastic bags, doesn’t it? Buy one of those super trendy, cotton tote bags and problem solved. It’s a pretty simple solution for a lot of people and fair play to that. Like most of this stuff though, it’s actually a bit more complicated. There’s just never an easy solution is there *sigh*.
Plastic Bags are Better!?
The Ministry of Environment in Denmark recently found that using plastic bags is better in some ways than the alternatives. Now obviously there’s one super, massive, major thing to bear in mind. Plastic bags aren’t biodegradable. They fill up the ocean and even our food with nasty, little plastic bits. However, if we put this to one side (which we can’t really do in real life but for the sake of the argument we will!), cotton and paper bags are apparently a lot worse for the environment than plastic.
Cotton and Paper
This might seem completely off but bear with us. The manufacturing of paper and cotton has a much bigger impact on the environment. Water usage, air pollution and the emission of greenhouse gases are more. It takes around 7,100 uses for a cotton tote bag to have the same minimal environmental impact as plastic. What’s even crazier is that for an organic cotton equivalent, this figure is more like 21,000.
Now, these are pretty mad figures given how easy lots of us think it is to find a greener alternative. And really it’s a pretty good idea to bear this sort of stuff in mind when we’re thinking about how to change the way we live. The biggest problem we have isn’t necessarily the stuff that we consume. It that we’re just obsessed with consuming it. Sure, it’s possible to find an alternative to plastic, but we’re still consuming. The best thing we can do to try is to rethink everything that we do and how quick we are to throw things away. If something can still be used then go ahead and use it rather than chucking it.