Paper or Plastic? Take the Canvas Challenge! 100 billion disposable shopping bags are consumed every year in the US. This is 200,000 bags per minute, or about 60 plastic bags in only four trips to the grocery store for the average family. And of all those plastic bags, only 1% is recycled, while the remaining 99% pollute the environment, and harm wildlife when animals mistake them for food.
If you think that itâ€™s better to use paper bags because they are biodegradable, how about the 14 million trees cut down to produce them?  Paper or plastic, all of this is an unnecessary production of energy from manufacturing to collecting to recycling. There is a very easy, ecological solution: a canvas bag!
For this challenge, all youâ€™ll need is:
a few canvas bags;
a few mesh bags;
â€¦ and a way to remember to take them with you before stepping out of the house.
Canvas bags are available at your local grocery store, in retail or on-line stores. Make sure to pick one made out of a natural fabric such as cotton or hemp, not one made with recycled plastic (kinda defeats the purpose). The best solution would be a 100% organic, fair trade cotton or hemp; they are more costly but in the long run, better for the environment. Go online to find one you like.
Mesh bags replace the thin, transparent plastic bags available at the fruit and veggie section. Tote bags being too big and thick, mesh bags are a perfect solution: they too are made out of cotton or hemp, and have a net-like woven pattern that allows air to circulate, avoiding mold and mildew. Go online to find one you like.
Last, but not least, is to remember to bring the bags with you. Not always an easy task, but here are a few helpful tips to not forget them anymore.
- Store them by the door, in plain sight.
- Store them in your car
Wherever you choose to keep them, make a special place for them, within easy access: give canvas and mesh bags their very own storing basket or hook. If you have to bend down, or lift something or open a door to grab them, chances are you will forget.
On your marks, ready, start your challenge!
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