Reusable vs. Disposable Grocery Bags

grocery bag for the red radishWhen you shop at the grocery store, is it better to bring your own reusable bags, or to get disposable paper or plastic bags at the checkout? Are reusable bags worth the bother?

Disposable plastic bags very harmful for the environment. Crude oil is the non-renewable material used to make plastic. Crude oil is a problem both at the production and elimination level: it creates a tremendous amount of pollution in manufacturing the bags, and will take centuries to biodegrade. Whether or not you reuse or “recycle” plastic bags, they are a plastic that’s not going anywhere. They blow around landfills. They get eaten by wildlife on the land and ocean, making animals sick.

Are paper bags then a better option? Unfortunately, no! Unlike plastic, paper biodegrades. However, with all the dyes and other chemicals put into the paper, biodegrading time is usually not much shorter than plastic. And the production is even worse: paper bags use more water and energy to make, and emit a vast degree more air and water pollution during production. What’s more, even recycling them takes more energy than is needed to make a new bag from wood pulp.

Enter the reusable bag!  Almost all grocery and other stores offer cloth or canvas alternatives at a small cost. Just bring them along when you walk to the store. Keep a sackful of reusable bags in the trunk of your car and grab them on the way into the store. You can use them over and over again without feeling bad about the impact on the environment. Check the label, as many can be washed if they get soiled.

Here at The Red Radish Natural Foods, we sell beautiful Red Radish cotton canvas bags. We also have ChicoBags, a lightweight and super compact bag that fits right into a purse or pocket so you never forget it. As a further incentive, The Red Radish also gives you 25 cents off your purchase each visit when you bring your own bags.

Come visit us in Neenah WI and make the switch to reusable grocery bags. It will make a difference to the environment and you will feel great!

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