A bag for one greeting card? Sounds trashy to me. Working in customer service, I see plastic bags being used all the time. People want bags for one item, and even go so far as to double bag, or even triple.

With plastic being used this often to carry even small things, imagine the waste that we have in other areas. Food waste is one thing, but plastic as well? Why waste plastic when there are options that are better for the environment. Ones that might save you money on your next grocery trip too. Through the help of reusable bags and changing eating habits,  the zero waste movement will be easier than you think.

cake, tea
Laura Quinting

The Zero Waste Movement is a life-changer. It is agreeing to make the steps towards bettering the environment. This can be done through ditching plastic and finding new uses for what we already have.

According to the Earth Policy Institute, a trillion single-use plastic bags are used every single year worldwide. This equates to nearly two million plastic bags being used every minute. 100 billion plastic bags are being used yearly within the U.S alone. If you laid those 100 billion plastic bags end-to-end, then it would circle the equator 1,330 times.

Luckily, there are steps to lower these numbers. For instance, 16 different countries in Africa and the country Denmark are taxing people who use plastic bags. They are encouraging the use of reusable bags in consumer’s daily lives, which is one of the ways we can reduce waste. Chicobags are just one of the environmental friendly reusable bags. 

1. ChicoBags

sweet, tea
Laura Quinting

ChicoBags is built on bringing the Zero Waste Movement into the community. Their line of bags include: large totes, mesh bags for produce, snack bags, and many more. The great feature about some of the bags is that they will compactly fit anywhere to make carrying them on the go easy. 

Many places in my area (Northern Michigan) have already taken steps to try to fix the plastic problem. Toms Food Market, one of the local grocery stores, gives its customers five cents off for each reusable bag that they use. Another grocery store Aldi, makes sure its customers aren't wasteful. Aldi charges extra for brown bags if you don't bring your own.

2. Food Waste 

chicken, pizza, nachos
Laura Quinting

Food waste is a serious issue. Myself as a prime example, takes the lazy route all too often. After a long day at work, cooking something to eat is unappealing, regardless of whether the food is about to expire . Ordering pizza for the third night in a row is what usually happens. But after awhile it becomes a waste of money and food.

Speaking of unused, be aware of food that you put on your plate when you eat out, especially at a buffet. While a buffet is all you can eat, all the food that isn't eaten gets thrown in the trash. Not only is that money down the drain for the business, but it also does not give a good representation on how much should be made. 

So skip over eating out and start eating in more. When grocery shopping if you buy more produce you will have less packaging than most boxed or canned foods. Use a reusable bag to store your fruit, it will stay fresh until you need it. 

#SpoonTip: If you do need plastic bags, reusing  them as garbage bags gives them a second life. 

beer, tea, cake
Laura Quinting

Now that you know more about the Zero-waste movement, and how you can get involved in lowering our waste, the changes to make the world a better place is within reach.  It won't be easy to completely transition into this lifestyle, but small changes can make a large difference.

This can be done by bringing your own bags to the grocery store, use mason jars as lunch containers, and reusing plastic bags as garbage bags. Your everyday choices can make a huge impact. For more info on the Zero Waste Movement visit ecocycle.org. Thank you ChicoBag (a brand of reusable bags) for collaborating with me on this article.