I’ve been carrying around my cotton tote bags – these ‘reusable’ bags are actually worst off for the planet than our disposable plastic bags. Other than the small plastic bags used for foodstuff, I pretty much never ever use plastic bags only once; minimisation of single-use plastic is very important first step to our habits as consumers to reduce the environmental impact of plastics. The trouble with substituting them with cotton tote bags and many other reusable materials is that those products have worse environmental footprint than plastics.
To ensure you justify the environmental impact of these nasty stuff, you need to use the tote bag daily for 54 years. Or something like 20,000 times; which they probably would be able to withstand. The irony is that one of the reason we started using plastics and other sort of polymer material is that cotton is water-intensive to produce and really doesn’t decompose that easily. We basically forgot the original intentions or benefits of plastics in a zeal to just try and eliminate them.
So yes we should ban plastics and perhaps it is really our mismanagement of plastic waste and prolific use of it that is the problem. Just as cotton tote in and of itself is probably not such a big problem until you realise you have about 20 different designs, patterns and colours at home (which probably is a number close to what I found in my home). It is just the mass production, the senseless exploitation of scale economies to the detriment of the planet that is at fault.
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