Is That Reusable Shopping Bag Really Green?

bagsI’m 27-years old, tattooed and pierced and apparently I don’t look like the sort of person that would use reusable shopping bags, but I do, and I sometimes get funny remarks from cashiers. One even said, “Wow, a man, a young man even, using these bags. I’ve never seen that.”

Actually, I’ve got five bags and they’re always in my car, ready to go. Now, while using them is better than traditional plastic shopping bags. They might not be as green as you think. In fact, some have a rather dubious upbringing. It’s pretty scary:

Reusable fabric bags are most commonly made from cotton, but the cotton-farming process is extremely fossil-fuel-intensive because of the machinery involved.

According to the Pesticide Action Network of North America (PANNA) conventionally grown cotton uses more insecticides than any other single crop. Worldwide, cotton growers use more than 10 percent of the world’s pesticides and nearly 25 percent of the world’s insecticides.

Cotton is also responsible for 25 percent of all chemical pesticides — insecticides, fungicides and herbicides — used on American crops. Chemical fertilizers are used to enrich the soil.

Well, then, what about organic cotton? Those crops generally yield less usable fiber, which means an organic farmer needs more land to make a profit.

Most of the cotton grocery bags are woven outside the U.S. where labor is less costly, but that increases the use of fossil fuels in getting them from the factory to these shores.

Typical shopping bags have drawn heavy fire lately with cities like Washington, D.C. considering fees for paper and plastic bags and New York State has passed legislation for statewide recycling of plastic bags.

But if you’re too leery about reusable shopping bags as they are, you could be like this whacky lady and use creepy bags made from cat fur. Eek!

Via ENN.

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  • threadbeaur  September 30, 2009 at 11:33 am

    Good for you for using cloth bags! I think that it is important for the younger crowd to lead this earth friendly revolution.
    I am not too sure about the cat fur bags. I do make my own from fabric that would have otherwise been thrown out into one of our rapidly filling landfills. Vintage drapery that might have once hung in grandmas house make great shopping totes. Or that old tablecloth, you know the one with the stain, I cut around the stains, and give them a second chance as a reusable cloth grocery bag. That way I am reusing something that already exists, and the product is a bag, that is useful again!

    I love cloth bags, and I think if you buy a few that you really like, you will be more likely to remember them, and they won’t end up in the corner of the closet collecting dust.

  • Office Bags  January 29, 2011 at 3:54 am

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