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Why should we reuse plastic bags?

So why shouldn’t you just throw away your plastic bags after one use? It may seem counter-intuitive, but the environmental benefits of reusing plastic bags can far outweigh the convenience they offer. They can be used more than once, be reused indefinitely, and reduce the amount of plastic entering the environment.

Plastic bags and their harmful effects

Plastic bags are notorious for their detrimental effects on the environment, even beyond their inevitable use in our lives. In a lot of cases plastic bags end up polluting landfills, where it can take up to 400 years to break down, or contaminating our planet’s marine ecosystems. Unfortunately, plastic bags in the ocean break down into micro plastics which can contaminate animals, allowing microplastic to make their way up the food chain, eventually poisoning humans who consume them.

According to the world economic forum, Every minute, one garbage truck of plastic is dumped into our oceans.

Tips for reusing plastic bags

You don’t have to choose between saving the planet and saving money. You reuse plastic bags to save the planet and pocket a little money in the process. Here are some tips for making the most of reusing your plastic bags.

  1. Reuse your plastic bag for more storage space
  2. With the range of plastic bags out there, colour coordinate your bags for sorting waste (Do not throw the plastic bag in the recycling bin unless it can be recycled) 
  3. Line plants with plastic bags, to make gardening a cleaner experience.
  4. Wash them and use them as glove for mixing or marinating food
  5. There are an unlimited amount of pinterest posts to help you transform your plastic bags into something insane

The Future of Plastic bags

Recently, an international team of group researchers from MIT have discovered polyethylene, the base material used in single-use bags and food packaging, can be transformed into lightweight textiles with a lower environmental effect than natural fibres like cotton. The researchers believe that this discovery would encourage people to recycle plastic items.

Parley Ocean Plastic, upcycles plastic waste such as plastic bags into high-performance sportswear.

Countries worldwide are planning on banning single-use plastic, such as bags, earbuds, spoons and straws. For example, New Zealand will ban single-use plastic bags by 2025. The UK implemented a similar ban last year for single plastics for straws, stirrers and cotton buds but not plastic bags. In addition, organisations like Planet patrol are campaigning to outright ban single-use carrier bags in the UK. 


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