When possible, I recycle, reduce, and re-use as part of my decluttering process. This includes returning my reusable shopping bags to the grocery.  I leave my “shoppers” in my car as not to forget them.

reusable shopping bag with pink flamingos
Pink Flamingo reusable shopping bag

Many places I go, someone is distributing a reusable shopping bag for marketing and promotional purposes. Some are a nice cotton, others are vinyl or even burlap.  My favorite shopper is an inexpensive Pink Flamingo tote from Flying Tiger in Milan, Italy.  I constantly get compliments on the bag and wish I had purchased more.

When I do have plastic bags, I return them to the market for recycling or use them for household purposes.  I also give them away to my friends who own dogs.

Environmental Impact

According to a 2016 blog from the EPA, plastic bags are made of an inexpensive material.  The plastic “does not readily biodegrade. Worldwide, as many as one-trillion plastic bags are used each year and less than 45% of the plastic is recycled.  In the United States, we use over 380 billion plastic bags and wraps yearly, requiring 12 million barrels of oil to create.”

Worse, plastic bags frequently land in oceans and waterways and ingested by animals.  A recent autopsy of a deceased whale included over 20 pounds of plastic, including 80 plastic bags.  Fisherman often have found geese with bags wrapped around their neck.

Some cities are banning the plastic bag; others require stores to charge for them.  Some stores are switching to a higher-grade plastic that is easy to recycle to avoid the ban.

While hauling reusable shopping bags into stores can be tedious to some, I choose to do what I can.  Not just for the environment but to keep the number of items that enter my house to a minimum.  Give it a thought and figure out what works for you.

Contact Clear the Clutter for more ideas on decluttering and organizing your home.

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