April 22: The End of Plastic?

Could this be the end for plastic bags?

Whole Foods has announced their goal to eliminate all plastic grocery bags by Earth Day (April 22). The grocer, which features natural and organic foods, said it hoped shoppers would bring their own reusable bags, but would offer 100 percent recycled paper grocery bags when needed.

Why are they doing this? According to the natural foods retailer, it takes more than a thousand years for bags to break down in a landfill and a reusable bag can be used thousands of times, sparing Mother Earth the waste.

We can’t help but think that the market is setting a good example, and that we as consumers should follow their Earth Day initiative to curb our own plastic bag use — be it when we’re traveling abroad or simply commuting to work. After all, bringing a bag is increasing trendy around the globe, and don’t we want to be up on the trends?

The New York Times recently reported

that “a rising number of governments and retailers are banning plastic bags, or discouraging their use, because of concerns about their environmental impact.” San Francisco banned plastic bags in supermarkets and pharmacies last year, and Beijing has completely banned free plastic bags starting June 1. New York City is offering plastic bag recycling for retailers. Australia’s government launched a program to reduce plastic bag use in 2004 and are currently looking to either ban them outright or start charging customers per bag. And since Ireland instituted the “plas tax” in 2002, they’ve seen a 90 percent drop in plastic bag use as well.

Need a suggestion for where to get your own stylish tote? Check out some of these websites for chic, eco-friendly options:

Baggu: For either $8 a pop or $38 for a pack of six, this bag is made of super-strong nylon and comes in eight different colors. The bags are definitely bright and big enough to be used for more than just groceries.

Envirosax:

Book your next trip with Peace of Mind
Search Trips

Choose from the graphic or organic (bamboo, linen, and hemp) series.

Graphic bags are $8.50 or $37.95 for a set of five, and organic bags start at $22.

Reisenthel: Their carrybag is modern take on the wicker shopping basket, with a durable pop-up polyester and aluminum frame; get one for $34.99 at The Container Store. I love their fold up minimaxi tote, which fits into a purse and unfolds to hold 2 liters worth of groceries; available for $4.99 at The Container Store.

For more cute bag designs, check out Reusablebags.com, or have your own designed for you at onebagatatime.com.

Go Further

Subscriber Exclusive Content

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet