That handy plastic baggie comes with a hefty price tag.
According to the Sierra Club, most families spend $85 a year on plastic baggies. As convenient as they are—and we’ve all used them—that’s basically like scattering 85 singles into the wind. A reusable snack bag, on the other hand has the potential to replace an average of 1,000 disposable plastic bags over its lifetime—saving water, petroleum and natural gas, and reducing exposure to toxins.
While we’re talking numbers, one piece of the puzzle that often gets overlooked is the costs not only to suppliers to produce these baggies and consumers to buy them, but also to communities to clean them up.
Your tax dollars go to cleanup.
Exactly how much of your tax dollars goes towards managing and recycling those pesky plastic baggies? For full-size carrier bags, California spends about 25 million dollars annually sending plastic bags to the landfill and an additional 8.5 million dollars removing plastic bag litter from streets and storm drains (Clean Air Council). Less than 1-3% of all plastic bags are recycled each year. Considering that most snack baggies come into direct contact with food and are more likely to be soiled, we can assume a smaller percentage of those end up in the recycling bin, and an even smaller percentage of those that do will actually meet recycling guidelines. Even if a plastic snack bag does qualify as recyclable, recycling one ton of plastic bags costs $4,000 on average; the recycled product can only be sold for a meager $32 (Clean Air Council).
Toxins: it’s what’s for lunch?
The amount of waste generated and money spent aside, many disposable sandwich and snack baggies are also made from PVC, latex and other plastic and synthetic materials that are prone to leaching chemicals—like BPA, phthalates and lead—into your family’s food. So even if you do try to reuse those disposable bags until they’re ripped and falling apart… you may not want to. Instead of risking your family’s health, opt for one of our safe reusable snack or sandwich bags, made from materials like organic cotton, hemp, silicone or BPA-free plastic.
Or if you’re looking for something sturdier, bento boxes also make great, versatile snack containers and are well suited to holding an assortment of nibbles throughout the day.
One (land)filling snack.
An estimated 20 million disposable plastic sandwich bags hits US landfills each year. That’s a scary-big number, but it gets scarier when you consider the fact that plastic never actually goes away… Instead of biodegrading and breaking down in the environment, plastic photodegrades and breaks down into pieces that get smaller and smaller and smaller… But it never vanishes.
Be a part of the solution by switching to reusable snack and sandwich bags. They’re long-lasting, less expensive, toxin- and waste-free, not to mention a whole lot cuter!
(Top Image: Inhabitots)