"No bag, please."
Those three simple words can help, in a small way, save the planet.
Whenever you buy something at an American store
and you reach the checkout, they put it in a bag
for you to carry out.
But do you really need that bag ?
If you've just bought one item, surely not,
and probably not, if you have just two or three.
If you have more than you can carry, then
a bag is a handy thing, but do you really
need a new one every time ? Those plastic bags are pretty durable.
When you get them home, they're in the same condition
they started in. Next time you go to the store,
take that bag back and reuse it!
But, you say, "it's just a bag".
"Just a bag," indeed. Let's look at some numbers.
In these United States, there are around 300 million people.
Suppose that, on average, each of them makes just one such purchase each week.
Sure, babies don't go shopping, but their moms and dads do, and
that keeps the average up.
If each of those purchases avoided an unnecessary bag,
that would be 1.2 Billion bags each month or about 15 Billion in a year.
That's 15,000,000,000 bags.
Those bags require raw materials and energy to manufacture,
and more to transport them, and then most go to landfills.
Or worse, into the environment.
And don't forget grocery stores.
Hardly anyone comes out of a grocery store with just one bag.
I take fabric bags to the grocery store, and thereby save
about five or six bags each week, or 250-300 per year.
If 100,000,000 (one third) of my fellow Americans did that,
that would 30 Billion bags in a year.
So, yes, those three simple words, "No bag, please",
when multiplied by 45 Billion, can make a BIG difference.
You can find some really nice reusable bags here:
These bags hold a standard paper grocery bag,
enabling you to take it back for reuse many, many times.
"Paper or Plastic ?" -- Just say NO!
Worldwide, estimates are that somewhere between
500 Billion and 1 TRILLION plastic bags are used each year.
Of those, perhaps 100 BILLION (100,000,000,000) are in the USA.