reusable net and cotton bags

Day 14: Reusable shopping bags

A sturdy, reusable bag for shopping or running errands is essential to avoid single use plastic bags. Especially as five trillion plastic bags are used each year. On average, a plastic bag is used for about 12 minutes before it is discarded. Less than one per cent of plastic bags are recycled, leaving 99 per cent to break down on land or in our oceans where they can join floating garbage patches. Plastic bags can take up to 1000 years to disintegrate. During this time, they will break down into tiny pieces, causing further havoc.

How to avoid single use plastic bags

It’s easy to avoid plastic bags with a little bit of preparation. Here are a few of my favourite ways to transport food:

A large washable bag with smaller cloth and net bags

reusable net and cotton bags

For a big shop, I take a huge and strong tote bag. Inside it, I keep small, empty cloth bags and netting bags. Some of the cloth bags are leftover from products, such as a double duvet cover case. These bags are reusable and can be washed hot again and again, which is excellent for hygiene. They’re also easy to carry, fold and store away.

Tiny pop-out bags

Always having a bag to hand is useful. If I have a tiny handbag, then I keep a small pop-out bag inside of it. A foldable bag helps me avoid getting caught out if I think of something while going about my day.

General tote bags

old thai rice sack upcycle reusable bag

In general, I am a fan of large and roomy tote bags. They are great for multi-use, efficient and suit any occasion. My favourite day to day bag is a bag made out of an old Thai rice sack. Love the creativity and that it’s been upcycled from a waste product into something new.

How to avoid forgetting your shopping bags?

Having a variety of reusable shopping bags in different places keeps me on track. For example, you can keep reusable shopping bags inside a bag, pocket, by the door or with the coats, in the car or a bicycle basket. Return the empty bag to whichever key place after unloading the shopping. This will help to develop a routine that makes every time you shop that bit more sustainable.

Mia Hadrill
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