American's like to Albeit Inadvertently:

I’ve written about this before but because I’m generally anal I had to re-visit this one more time.

Over the last 2 years, American Consumers embraced the opportunity to purchase environmentally safe--reusable shopping sacks from their favorite stores and boutiques. The premise for utilizing these sacks is simple. You’re reusing a bag to transport your goods from the store to your home eliminating the use of plastic and ultimately helping the environment.

The synthetic fibers and oils used to manufacture these reusable sacks leave less of a carbon footprint on the environment than their plastic counterparts and if used properly can and will reduce the use of plastic bags.

Great! However, the marketing geniuses on Madison Avenue have discovered that the sacks can also be used for advertising. This single idea can entice consumers with clever sayings and graphics branding not only the sacks but the people who carry them. If fact, many people proudly shoulder their branded sacks as a fashion accessory acknowledging where they shop and ultimately defining who they are.

However, labeling these reusable sacks changes the dynamics and principles of why they were introduced in the first place. A plain or single color branded sack if reused properly over the course of its three year life span can and will illuminate the disposal of 400 plastic bags. Of course, you have to reuse the sack at least 400 times for this to be achieved. 

Now take the multi-colored fashionable reusable sacks that many high end stores offer. The lead content and oils used in the graphics negatively affect the environment. In fact, it has been reported that the majority of consumers that employ the use of reusable sacks have accumulated over 20 sacks per household. Most are never used and are shoved under the sink or buried in a pantry never seeing the light of day.

The manufacturing and distribution for unused reusable sacks is growing. Again, the whole purpose of the reusable sack is to limit or eliminate the use of plastic bags.

Which brings us to another question about people who use reusable sacks, what are they using for bathroom and bedroom can liners? Many people reuse the plastic bags from grocery stores for small receptacles at home or to wrap chemical cleaners and sprays for safe storage.

The answer is simple; they’re buying small garbage bags to line small receptacles adding too and not reducing their use of plastic bags. This not only creates more toxic waste in our landfills it also adds  to their own expenses by purchasing small can liners instead of using plastic grocery bags they once accumulated.

So taking all this into consideration and to save our planet from the onslaught of plastic refuses, is it safe to say purchasing reusable sacks is a good idea for the environment or is it just another gimmick created by Madison Avenue creating a new revenue stream for their clients? 

All things equal using plastic or reusable bags is simply a preference.  If you like to using the trendy reusable sacks great. No harm, no foul.

However, I believe these trendy sacks will one day end up lying right next to the plastic bags and bottles currently residing in our nations landfills and Americans will find something else to embrace. Like all those American flags we had dangling from our car windows after 9/11.

We the fickle …