Resealable plastic bags (e.g. Ziploc) are truly amazing, and in certain aspects of convenience unrivaled for the modern consumer. They are cheap, durable, and can hold solid and liquid contents free of contamination in the refrigerator, freezer, or pantry. There is no need to wash them since they can be easily discarded and replaced in packs of 10, 25, 50, or perhaps 100 at almost any grocery store around the country. Resealable bags are a true modern marvel.
Do you use resealable bags? What for? To store the remainder of a cut onion, an opened package of mushrooms, carrots, or celery? Do you send them to school with your kids or bring them to the office? How many do you use in a day, week, month, or year? How much do you spend on them? Where do all of these bags end up?
The message that I would like to share in this post is as follows. If you use resealable plastic bags, do so no more! I will repeat something I have noted in previous posts that I think is worth repeating. All the plastic that humankind has manufactured since the beginning of time is still on earth. It does not go away. During the chemical processes used to manufacture plastics the raw material inputs (fossil fuels) undergo such chemical and physical transitions that the final products (manufactured plastics) can never be returned to their raw components. In other words, plastics can be made from fossil fuels, but plastics cannot be reconverted back into fossil fuels. Thus when we purchase resealable plastic bags, take them to school or work, and throw them “away”, the trash collector takes them to a landfill where they will stay forever. The bags might photodegrade into smaller pieces of plastic that are physically equivalent to the original bag, but those smaller solid particles will never decompose. They will remain on planet Earth for a very long time, so long that we do not yet know how long.
There are various alternatives to using these bags, some of which require a greater upfront investment while saving money and resources in the long run. Others require washing as opposed to discarding. There are always tradeoffs, and in this case the biggest tradeoff is likely to be convenience, because that is what plastic bags provide—convenience. But we can and should get beyond the throwaway lifestyle (throwaway utensils, plates, cups, coffee containers, bags, napkins…) because the throwaway lifestyle represents one of the heaviest detriments to our Planet. Below is a short list of potential alternatives to reducing or eliminating the usage of resealable plastic bags.
-Buy Tupperware. Use it to store and transfer food. Get different shapes and sizes for different purposes.
-Put food items directly in your fridge.
-Reuse resealable plastic bags. Designate bags for dry goods and bags for wet goods. Label them.
-Buy a lunch bag and put your lunch items directly inside.
-Buy reusable sandwich bags.
There are other alternatives to using resealable plastic bags that I have not mentioned. The possibilities are as endless as creativity itself, but the costs are high. Modern manufacturing and usage of plastics is killing the planet and cannot be sustained. So stop wastefully using resealable plastic bags and get your friends and neighbors to stop as well!