Americans use a whopping 100 billion plastic bags each year. And, once discarded, it takes at least 500 years for this waste to break down.
For those reasons, you might be on the lookout for an eco-friendly alternative to your standard grocery bag. A canvas bag could do the trick — they're reusable, after all.
Of course, like any material, canvas has its environmental implications, as well. Is it better for the earth than plastic, though?
Read on to find out.
Canvas Bags Save On Plastic
As previously mentioned, having canvas grocery bags means you won't need to use plastic ones anymore.
Americans use billions of the plastic kind and if they don't discard them properly, they end up becoming problematic to the environment.
It takes a lot of resources to produce this many satchels, too.
Specifically, 12 million barrels of oil go into the manufacture of these plastic bags. So, reducing the demand for plastic cuts down on the amount of fuel our society uses.
Canvas Bags Are Reusable
One major issue with plastic bags is that people tend to use them once, then discard them. Only one percent of them end up recycled.
If you carry a canvas bag, though, you can make use of it every time you go shopping. Placing your canvas bag in your car or briefcase means you're prepared for any run to the grocery store or mall.
Once you get home and empty it, you can reuse your canvas bag time and time again.
Canvas Bags Can Be Environmentally Friendlier
You're saving on plastic, but canvas bags still require resources to make. Specifically, they're made of cotton, which is a crop that requires lots of water to grow.
Still, you can choose an eco-friendly canvas option. Seek out recycled or organic canvas grocery bags if you want to reduce your environmental impact even more.
You might also seek out a tote bag made of jute or hemp, plant-based materials that require fewer pesticides to grow than cotton.
And, of course, if you actually reuse your canvas bags, you save on resources in the long run. We won't need to make as many canvas bags — and use as much cotton — if we all have a supply of them at home.
Canvas Bags Tend To Be Sturdier
A plastic bag is designed for single use. Your cloth bags, however, are meant to last for years.
So, you can expect that your cloth bag will hold heavier items without stretching and breaking. Whether you make your own canvas bag or have a custom one designed for you, it's likely to hold up much better than a flimsy plastic bag.
Choose a Canvas Bag
As long as you reuse your canvas bag and source it well, it's an eco-friendlier option than single-use plastic.