5 Strategies to Avoid Using Plastic Bags

Plastic bags are everywhere. Whether you are buying groceries, picking up takeout, or shopping at your favorite boutique, plastic bags are difficult to avoid. Eventually, you have piles of plastic bags under your sink which you don’t know what to do with. Here are some tips to get rid of plastic bags in your life once and for all.

1. Initially Getting Rid of Plastic Bags

Your first step in steering clear of plastic bags is to get rid of them altogether. But, before you toss them in the recycling bin – STOP! Did you know those pesky plastic bags can’t be recycled? This is due to the fact that empty plastic bags get caught in the belts and gears at recycling centers, and filled plastic bags are disposed of since the workers don’t know what is inside the bags. Even though the bags might be filled with recyclable items, the workers must toss them in case there are hazardous or non-recyclable items inside. 

2. Plastic Bag Drop Offs

Most big-box stores have plastic bag drop off bins located near the front of their stores. Be sure to utilize them and take all your plastic bags there. Since plastic bags can’t be recycled, please minimize the amount of bags that end up in the trash. They escape quickly from garbage trucks and grocery carts since they are very light and catch the wind easily, which is why you will see them floating by roads and tangled in fences. Unfortunately, many of these bags make their way to a water source and can end up in the ocean. Only throw away greasy or dirty bags, and pack them tightly in with other trash items. All clean bags should be taken to drop off bins.

3. Avoiding Plastic Bags in Stores

Grocery stores are probably where you get most of your plastic bags from. Start bringing your own tote bags with you and placing your groceries in them. If you don’t own any tote bags, many grocery and department stores sell them for $1 or $2. Take advantage of them and stock up! Remember, your goal is to get rid of plastic bags completely. Also remember to take your tote bags with you when shopping for clothes and other items. Unfortunately, many retailers still use plastic bags.

4. Trying Out New Grocery Stores

Did you know that a lot of local and healthy grocery stores have coffee, nut, bean, and rice dispensers? You can utilize these awesome dispensers by bringing in your own glass jars and filling them up. Then, not only are you avoiding plastic bags at checkout, but you are steering clear of plastic packaging in general as well.

5. Plastic Bags at Restaurants

It can be nearly impossible to avoid plastic bags at restaurants. Any time you order food to-go, your meal will most likely be wrapped up in a plastic bag. Consider sitting down and eating at the restaurant. If this is not an option because you are in a hurry, think of getting takeout at restaurants that wrap up food in paper bags or cardboard boxes. It might sound like a hassle, but remember you are helping the environment! If you do get stuck with takeout wrapped in a plastic bag, be sure to throw out the bag and ensure it is packed tightly with other trash and won’t escape from a garbage truck and become littered material.

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