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Another green report from 16-year old Zach McGrath

Re-useable grocery bags give new meaning to the term “Green Grocer.”

When you come to the checkout of your local grocery store you are asked, “Paper or plastic?” Many people mindlessly order plastic bags every day, oblivious (or just blasé) about their effect on the environment.

In fact, there is actually a threefold cost to these seemingly free plastic bags. The harm first starts in the bags’ production where carbon-emitting factories use up non-renewable resources like petroleum and pollute the environment with toxic chemical ingredients. The second cost is the cost of consumption. It is estimated that the annual cost to solely US retailers for plastic bags is $4 Billion. This also affects the retailers’ customer base in the form of generally higher prices. The third and most harmful effect of our nation’s use of these bags is in their disposal. Marine life is always being harmed – either by choking on bags that they mistake for jellyfish, or being poisoned from the toxic particles that originate from the bags. And even if these bags make it safely to a landfill, they take up to 1,000 years to degrade, and even then into tiny particles that contaminate the soil and water.

reusable_grocery_photo_bag.jpgSo, what is the right choice to bring our groceries home in?  The newest green trend in grocery buying is reusable grocery bags. These durable bags (usually made out of recycled material) can hold up to three times what a normal plastic bag can, and are much more friendly to the environment. To get these bags, you can buy them online from various sources such as www.greensak.com, or ask around at your local supermarket. Usually costing only cents each, groceries and other major stores are climbing onboard to this new trend and offering an alternative way to stylishly carry home your food and other supplies.

I currently own bags from BigY, Trader Joe’s, and Ikea, as opposed to lugging them home in an unsightly plastic bag. Hopefully everyone will realize that by owning their own grocery bags (and even maybe personalized ones!) they can wipe out the necessity for plastic bags and hopefully rid our world of those foul things. However at this point one can only hope and support this cause. Just remember, even though it costs a little extra (a very little), we will be the ones paying in the end if we stay with plastic bags. Next time when faced with the question, “Paper, or plastic,” you can respond with, “Neither, I have my own!”

For more info, check out www.reusablebags.com