Say no to plastic and paper with these chic plastic bag alternatives, which are perfect for all kinds of shopping
By Katy Caric
July is Plastic-Free Month. But given all the plastic bottles of water and other drinks many people are going through all year, we think that should change. Every month should be plastic-free month! It’s always a great time to raise awareness about the pervasive problems of plastic. It’s simply shocking how much of this nasty, toxic material we use in our daily lives.
In fact, here are some scary facts you may not have know. We humans have produced 18.2 trillion pounds of plastics since large-scale production began in the early 1950s. That weight is equivalent to 1 billion elephants or 25,000 Empire State Buildings! Nearly 80% of that plastic is now stuck in landfills or the natural environment, adding toxins to our soil and water.
And the worst part is: we’re just getting started. Scientists say that by 2050, another 26.5 trillion pounds will be produced worldwide. Those projections were made before billions of face masks were produced and foced upon the population due to Covid. And to think: before 1950, this evil stuff barely existed!
Why We Need To End Plastic
Most plastics don’t biodegrade in any meaningful sense. This means the plastic waste humans have generated could be with us for hundreds or even thousands of years, according to Jenna Jambeck, study co-author and associate professor of engineering at the University of Georgia.
A separate, recent study by the British research firm Eunomia said there may be as much as 70 million tons of plastic waste on the seafloor alone! And surely that has increased once again due to face mask use.
It’s all pretty depressing – until we realise that ending plastic starts with US. We can refuse to consume plastic by rejecting plastic eating utensils, straws, packaging and of course, shopping bags.
Many countries are now charging for plastic bags, or better yet – banning them outright. We think that’s great! And it’s much easier to shop without plastic if you’re always with your own trusty shopper.
Here, I’ve found 10 chic plastic bag alternatives you can take to the grocery store and beyond.
Main image: thesaillocker.com
Reusable Shopping Bags Better Than Plastic
Made from recycled nylon, these reusable grocery bags are truly stylish plastic bag alternatives. They were created to combat plastic pollution back in 2007. The Baggu carryall looks similar to a standard grocery bag but comes in minimalist stripes and other stylish patterns. The can also hold up to 50 pounds, so they won’t break, no matter how many groceries you buy.
Price: $35 for three differently sized bags.
Back in the day, most Europeans and Americans carried sweet little string bags with them to buy their veggies. And now, they’re making a comeback! Whether your heading to the beach or picking up some vegetables, this is one of the best plastic bag alternatives. These are are easy to pack in your purse ‘just in case’ you buy stuff you don’t want to put in your handbag.
Price: $19 for 3
3. Feed Bag
Founded by Lauren Bush Lauren, this burlap bag is the perfect shopping tote. Highly Instagrammable, and supporting a good cause, the bag was inspired by the bags of food rations distributed by the UN World Food Programme. Purchasing the tote provides one child with school meals for an entire year in 63 of the poorest countries around the world. And we love the positive messages they’re emblazoned with, too!
Price: Around $40
It’s so sad that some supermarkets still insist that we wrap our produce in plastic bags at checkout! But at least these organic cotton bags offer one of the best plastic bag alternatives. They even help your veggies to stay fresh! Just moisten them before tucking your veggies inside, then throw ’em right in the fridge. Your treasured shopping stays fresh stowed away.
Oh, and if you’re concerned about ethics, you’ll be happy to know that these are made at a worker-owned facility in North Carolina.
Price: Around $20
It doesn’t get eco-friendlier than Patagonia! Their Market Tote Bag is one of the simplest and most minimal plastic bag alternatives. It’s made with organic cotton and Fair Trade Certified sewing. The bag has been designed to last. Its reinforced handles that connect with the two-layer bottom will support even the heaviest of shopping loads.
This vegan bag was made for shopping! It’s packed with loads of pockets, to ensure none of your delicate produce gets squashed. There’s also a sturdy adjustable strap, and a separate section for roll-shaped items. These could be anything from baguettes to bottles of water or wine! There’s even an opening zip at the bottom, so you don’t have to dig around for stuff that’s packed at the bottom of the bag.
It’s one of the best plastic bag alternatives because it lasts and lasts. That’s thanks to the sturdy waxed cotton it’s made from. It’s also fully washable, so feel free to buy the dirtiest of potatoes!
Price: Around $80
8. The Kind Bag
Sustainable brand KIND Bag creates bright bold accessories uniquely designed to combat plastic pollution and drive change in the fashion industry. bags for everyone every day. Their mission:to be kind to the planet. KIND Bag put a lot of time and efforts to make their bags more practical, useful, beautiful, and unique than any other bags on the market. It’s not just another reusable shopping bag. Kind Bag is so much more caring for both you and the planet.
Main image: Truss NYC