Shopping is a part of our daily activities whether it’s for groceries, clothing, or anything else. But have you ever wondered how many bags you use for shopping? Even by conservative estimates, the number will be substantial. This unrestrained use of shopping bags is causing a major strain on our environment and ultimately we will have to pay the cost. Though we can’t put a stop to shopping and the need for bags to carry what we buy, we can tread smartly and ensure that it doesn’t damage our environment in any way. Just by switching non-reusable bags with reusable tote bags or any other kind of reusable bags, we can create a big difference.

Below is provided a brief sketch of the most commonly used shopping bags.

Plastic Bags

Mankind has been using plastic bags for a long time and in no small quantities but bulk. The carbon footprint of plastic is quite dangerous and a campaign is going on all around the world to replace plastic bags with other alternatives. To be clear, the use of plastic bags is a much lesser problem than the fact that they are just dumped almost exclusively. The bottoms of our oceans stand as proof of their abundance. As cheap as they are to make since they use petroleum and result in emissions, they should be recycled. One reason for this lack of recycling is that it’s quite difficult and very few facilities are available for this. It is the unrecycled bags, ending up as litter, which cause the most problem. So, unless some convenient ways can be devised urgently to recycle plastic bags, their use should be avoided.

In recent years, a drastic rise in plastic pollution has been witnessed which is harmful not just to humans but to all life forms.

Reusable Bags

Reusable bags come in many varieties and are made from different kinds of materials. Cotton reusable bags are the most commonly used. Studies show that these bags can be used no less than 100 times before they are ready to be recycled. Moreover, the environmental toll they take is minimum in contrast to the alternatives. Their applications are wide and the fact that they can be used repetitively saves us some bucks. However, the customer needs to be vigilant in reusing them and not just forget them at home and buy a new one every time. This practice will just kill their whole purpose.

As people are shifting more and more to reusable bags, litter is also reducing. And we are seeing cleaner beaches, oceans, and land.

Paper Bags

Paper bags are another widely used kind of bag. Though they have many advantages over plastic bags, they can’t be reused much as they are not so durable. However, they can be recycled conveniently. The fact that they are biodegradable makes them available for purposes like composting. But they are not without some toll. The manufacturing of paper bags takes up way more energy than plastic bags. The reason for their wide use is the ease of their recycling. Paper recycling facilities can be found easily and the recycling percentage is also quite high when compared with its counterparts, somewhere around 70%.

Though reusable bags have great advantages over other types, there is no clear demarcation between them all. All of them have their positive and negative sides. It falls upon the individual to use whichever bag he have, as many times as possible. With due regard for the environment around us and adopting green, environment friendly practices, we can leave our beloved planet in better shape than we found.


Rethinking The Future (RTF) is a Global Platform for Architecture and Design. RTF through more than 100 countries around the world provides an interactive platform of highest standard acknowledging the projects among creative and influential industry professionals.

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