Who among us hasn’t seen a thin plastic grocery bag wrapped around a high tree branch, washed up on the shore, or blowing along the highway? As more and more city and town councils are voting to ban single-use plastic bags, it’s a good time to start collecting your own stash of the reusable variety.
Why the bans? According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), these seemingly innocuous carriers, typically made out of petroleum-based plastic, do not biodegrade, meaning they will pretty much last forever. Thin plastic bags are also easily blown and can end up in waterways, which is a concern to the environment, wildlife, and human health. “Source reduction” is a coined term that’s really just common-sense advice: the most effective way to prevent marine and aquatic debris is to prevent waste in the first place.
Large and small retailers are increasingly stepping-up to the plate by creating and offering lines of reusable bags that are as pleasing to the eye as they are sturdy and useful. Bonnie Combs of Bird Brain Designs takes it one step further by sewing durable totes from birdseed, animal feed, and brewery grain bags – keeping those items from ending up in a landfill. Combs, who sells online and at regional shows, says, “I love setting up at an event and seeing people light up when they see my creations, and I also love that they take the time to learn why I do it... to save the planet, one bag at a time!”