Reduce, Reuse & Recycle

Recycling has gained an international momentum. With this new change of pace, active steps are being taken in different states and countries to ensure mother nature is plastic bag free. Using reusable bags is not only chic, it helps the environment.

Plastic Bag Tax across the globe

In 2002, Ireland implemented what they called a PlasTax,  a fee for plastic bags. This fee, dropped consumption of plastic bags in Ireland by 90 percent and the country produced 1 billion less bags per year. As well as a 18,000,000 liter reduction in oil used to produce plastic bags. As the years have gone on, countries like Australia, the United Kingdom and even a few cities in the United States of America have followed along in this “PlasTax” plan.

“In DC, we have a .5 cent charge for using plastic bags to give an incentive for going green,”  Sara Maldonado from D.C. said. She adds, “Because of this, almost everyone uses reusable bags.”

Recently, Austin has followed in the “Keeping your city beautiful” pursuit from other cities like San Francisco, D.C, Brownsville, and Malibu – to name a few. Since March 1, 2013, all single-use bags have been banned from all stores in Austin, Texas, which encourages customers to bring their own bag. To reduce the environmental impact of plastic waste, cities around the world started taxing plastic bags. They have kept the public informed on how plastic bags can harm the environment, and how the ban is beneficial to their community and their lives.

Benefits of using reusable bags

The effort toward taking actions to improve the  environment has been seen more prominent in today’s society by communities generating educational groups that focus on keeping a city “beautiful”. One way to keep your city beautiful is by using a reusable bag. Using a reusable bag has an economical aspect (more frugal), plays an important role in the act of saving the environment, and has different multi-purposes like having a purse or extra lunchbox.

1. Saves the Environment

While there are mixed feelings about some regions implementing a bag ban and the idea of taking your own bag to the store, reusable bags have proven to have multiple uses that can better the environment.  In 2010, the Environmental Protection Agency found that the U.S. generated 31 million tons of plastic waste. According ABC News, a plastic bag can take 15 to 1,000 years to decompose in a landfill. Reusing a bag helps reduce the waste.

“I work for a grocery store here in Austin, and despite the angry customers we have to deal with, I support resuable bags over plastic bags. They are so much better for the environment, they hold more items, they are easier to carry, and I think like every other major positive change- the public will learn how to adapt and modify their lifestyle, ” said Lea Thompson, college graduate from St. Edward’s University.

2. Better quality bags 

Having a sturdy bag to carry groceries alleviates the problem of having to use more than one bag for groceries. The sturdiness of the bag helps carry most of the groceries and eliminates the fear of tearing the bag. “[My mom] takes [reusable bags] around everywhere,” 24 year-old from Houston, Texas April Davila said. “They are sturdy and when it comes time to shop, there is no way she’s taking home anymore [plastic] trash bags.”

3. Saves you money

Reusable bags are being sold at many retailers now and have a wide range of designs and prices. From solid green or black, to leopard, zebra and Tinkerbell bags, bags come in a variety of designs, and prices ranging from 99 cents to three dollars. advices that by buying good- quality reusable bags the customer will actually be saving their money because they won’t be wasting their money on what calls “expensive reusables.”  Expensive reusable bags are thicker, cheaper plastic bags, but are considered “expensive reusable” because they will have to keep buying new bags when their current bags continue to give out after a few uses.

If your city does not ban plastic bags, you can still help the environment by purchasing a reusable bag or you can find DIY tutorials to create your own chic bag.

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