[Article] 6 Eco-Friendly Alternatives for Everyday Bags

Ditch the plastic!

Each year the United States uses over 30 billion plastic grocery bags, 100 billion shopping bags, and a myriad of other toxic plastic bags for everyday occasions that could be avoided. The environment isn’t the only thing we are hurting: “93% of Americans age six or older test positive for BPA (a plastic chemical)”1.

How can we be less wasteful and more proactive? Let’s start by replacing those yucky, no-good plastic bags with eco-friendly alternatives.

1. Trash

It’s estimated that it takes 500-1,000 years for a single plastic bag to break down in a landfill. Replace your plastic garbage bags with 100% biodegradable bags. Swap hundreds of years for your compostable bags to degrade for only 12-24 months.

2. Food

From canvas to burlap, there are a ton of reusable bag options for grocery shopping. Just make sure you choose ones that can hold the weight of all that yummy, local produce.


3. Retail

Superman saved the Earth in style, so why can’t you? When it comes to shopping, there are endless stylish totes to choose from. We think bags made from 100% bio cotton are the real deal.

4. School

Think plastic-free, waste-free, and BPA-free. This is your chance to really set the trend for what’s “cool” in school with reusable backpacks, lunchboxes, and sandwich bags. Green is most definitely the new black!


5. Holidays and Parties

Thinking about using plastic wrap for gift baskets or goodie bags? Think again! Reduce your impact on the planet by using compostable bags.

6. Doggy Bags

Here today, gone next year. Bark about it because these ‘green’ baggies are 100% degradable.



Just how much is plastic harming our earth? Listen to this GDGD Radio podcast to find out!


We recently asked some of the ISF Youth Division’s MobSTIRS and their families about plastic bag alternatives; here’s what they had to say: 

“We shred our bags in our paper shredder and bag them up and take them to the local shipping store and they use it as packing cushion instead if Styrofoam peanuts.” – Mariah

“We give ours to Fresh & Easy and they give money to schools when we do that. I prefer using recycled bags though.” – Cailen

“We don’t use plastic bags really, but you could reuse them as small trash can liners or use them for picking up your dogs poo when walking them. You can even save energy like instead of sand, you can stuff a draft dodger with plastic bags.” – Mason

“We don’t use plastic bags, but you can make jewelry and tote bags from them. Also, in South Africa they are made into clothes and shoes by people living in the townships. It is amazing! The tops are to die for! They also use other plastic materials like orange bags (from the fruit). – Margot

Still stuck for ideas on what to do with your plastic bags? Our MobSTIR Vanessa suggests the following: 

1. Cover your car’s side mirrors and windshield wipers if you park outside in winter and you won’t have to scrape ice off in the A.M. My Mom reminded me she does this one.
2. My mom and I take them back to the store so they can be reused.
3. Cut them up and use them as packing material for moving storage in your home.
4. Both my mom and I have used them to stuff throw pillows for my room (great arts and craft project).
5. We wrap up stuff in plastic bags so they don’t get any dust on them.
6. My mom uses them when she packs, she lines her bag so her shoes don’t touch her clothes.
7. My friend and I have made them into kites and have used them as alternatives to water balloons.
8. My mom has used plastic bags to stuff my stuffed animals when the stuffing gets flat or if a stuffed animal rips and loses its stuffing.

Do you have any plastic bag alternatives to contribute? Share in the comments below. 



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