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Healthy Shopping Bag Tips

Healthy Home 2008, Spring 2008

We've all been at the checkout counter, debating how to answer the question, "Paper or plastic?" Unfortunately, "neither" is the only good reply. Each year, the United States burns through 12 million barrels of oil to create roughly 100 billion plastic grocery bags, which gum up rivers and oceans and choke wildlife. But paper bags are no better. According to the advocacy group Worldwatch Institute, making paper bags uses far more energy and produces more air pollution than manufacturing plastic ones. And then there are the trees: Each year, about 14 million are cut down to make 10 billion paper bags for Americans alone.

There's really no better solution than making sure you have a reusable sack on hand when you're shopping. Buy several canvas or expandable string bags (Eco-Bags and ReusableBags have huge selections, and many grocery stores are selling them, too). To ensure that you'll always have one available, keep a few near your back door, in your car, and at your office, or tuck one into the bottom of your purse.

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