The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Opinion

June 2, 2008

Environment-friendly grocery bags save energy

Many folks in Enid who are concerned about the environment and want to do “something” to help alleviate some environmental problems need to look no further than their local grocery store.

Many local grocery stores are now offering fabric green reuseable bags shoppers can purchase for less than $1 each.

These green bags have handles and generally are larger than the paper or plastic bags you might normally be hauling home from the grocery store. They are also more durable and you can get more items into a single bag.

The bags can sometimes have the name of the grocery store on them or other imprints on them, but they usually have the recycling symbol along with the words “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.”

An added bonus is stores usually offer some kind of reimbursement for each reuseable bag you bring in.

Many shoppers may not understand the hidden costs plastic and paper bags add, both to environmental problems and their own pocketooks.

The familiar plastic polyethylene bags are manufactured from petroleum. It’s estimated nearly12 million barrels of oil are required to make 100 billion plastic shopping bags Americans go through annually. As we all suffer through higher oil prices, it makes sense to reduce the use of petroleum for products like grocery bags.

Whether paper or plastic, both kinds of bags end up as waste or to be recycled. Some people are vigilant about recycling their paper or plastic bags, but most aren’t. So, they end up in the landfill.

While the reuseable bags do cost money up front, they can end up saving quite a bit in the longrun. According to some environmental experts, each reuseable bag has the potential to eliminate an average of 1,000 plastic bags over its lifetime.

Reuseable grocery bags are a small step toward having a more positive impact on the environment, but it’s a small step just about everyone can afford to make.

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