22 Jul 3 Reasons Tote Bags Are a Nightmare for the Planet

Don’t get me wrong, tote bags started as a great idea. I clearly remember the times they were still scarce and hunted by curious looks when taken for morning bakery strolls. Unfortunately we overshot on this idea as well.

1. They are too many

Nowadays, canvas tote bags are practically ubiquitous – they are inexpensive, given free at many retailers and handed out as promotional gifts by businesses and nonprofits.

I just went around the house and found 26 of them and I don’t use more than 2 regularly. If I wouldn’t start refusing them, now I could have had more than 50!

2. One Tote bag takes lots of resources to produce

A study of UK Environment Agency shows that we would need to use a cotton tote bag 327 times to produce the same carbon footprint as a 1 time use of a plastic bag (HDPE, the plastic sacks found at grocery stores). In other words, if they were meant to replace plastic bags, then we would need to use each of them at least 327 times there, where we would normally use a plastic one. Not only they consume big amount of resources to make; few of them are made to last long enough to satisfy that.

3. They became disposable

Because of this tote bag hyped mania, unused cotton bags can be now found tossed in trashcans and piled in dumpsters.

At first, the message was clear. Take this cotton tote bag and don’t get any more plastic bags. When someone handed one to us, we both used to nod to the great environmental-friendly idea. As if our hearts almost melted with happiness. That was before designers and advertising agencies detected their potential as a great advertising medium, because it’s flat and easily printable. Now, we should think twice about taking or producing one. Just shake your head and say “I’ve got too many!”

Also let’s not forget about the stunning collection of plastic bags under our sinks. They are still reusable.