To tote or not to tote?

They’re green in principle, but not in the way people use them.  While many people have made the move to reusable bags, there is still some debate about whether these are, in fact, better than paper or plastic. Some studies suggest that it takes more energy to produce reusable bags, and that a large portion of those are just ending up in the landfill. Clean Fairfax suggests that reusable bags are still a much better choice if you make the decision to use and reuse them.

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Here is why the reusable tote movement still carries some weight (sorry—couldn’t resist):

  • The cotton bags cited in the article as requiring the most reuse to even out the production impact are the least common option used. It’s not hard to get to the 27 times of reuse identified in the article for other totes.
  • Most reusable totes can be filled much more than a plastic bag, so proportionately we use fewer.
  • Many plastic bags tear before they can be reused, and many people do not reuse the plastic bags.
  • Look around: How many times have you seen plastic bags along the side of the road, in the woods, or, once for me, forty feet under water while scuba diving? Reusable tote bags are much less likely to end up as litter despite the article’s claim that they are ending up in the dumpster.
  • Finally, it takes 12 million barrels of oil to manufacture the 102 billion plastic bags that Americans use annually, according to the United Nations.

Consider machine washable bags that can be rolled up and easily transported, like our fabulous CLEAN FAIRFAX bags.

Check out NationSwell for more facts about our plastic usage and great ideas on how to make some personal changes:

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