Plastic reusable bags have been in use since the 1980s and are still popular among shoppers to date. This stems from the several advantages derived from them. For instance, the use of these bags reduces the consumption of disposable plastic or paper bags, most of which are an environmental eyesore and pollute the soil, besides clogging sewerage systems and may be fed on by animals.
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The fact that these bags are reusable implies that people who use the bags save quite a substantial amount of money they would have spent on buying disposable bags (Miller and Spoolman, pp. 29). Economic benefits of these bags also arise from the low cost of producing them as compared to plastic bags
Reusable grocery bags are multi-purpose due to their strength, so they can be used for a number of household tasks that include storing clothing. Studies have also shown that the production process of these bags does less harm to the environment as compared to plastic or paper bags.
Despite the popularity of reusable plastic shopping bags as a solution to the current environmental crisis, several people have questioned whether this strategy will be effective in the long run. The first con of these bags is based on recent studies that showed that the gabs contain lead, a metal that becomes toxic when it bioaccumulates in the human body. There has been concern that this lead may affect the food material carried in the bags. The second disadvantage of these bags is that they have been found to contain bacteria, mainly if used without washing. However, this can be corrected by telling shoppers to wash their bags.
The materials from which reusable grocery bags are made are unsustainable. A grocery bag manufactured out of thick plastic with an equal lifespan as the same weight of a plastic bag has a minimal positive impact. Instead, the bag should be made from renewable materials and significantly more durable to cancel the environmental impact of disposable plastic bags. The inconvenience of carrying a bag to the supermarket or shopping market further adds to the cons of these bags.
Miller, G. T., and Spoolman, S. (2011). Sustaining the Earth: an integrated approach. Belmont, CA: Cengage Learning.