General Article Is your reusable tote worse for the environment than a plastic bag?

Topic Selected: Environment and Sustainability Book Volume: 368

By Rosie Frost

Plastic bags have become a bit of a taboo subject in recent years. Bans have been brought in across the globe to try to limit how many of these environmentally disastrous pieces of junk end up littering our world for virtually forever. Even some of the most prolific waste producers are making plastic bags a thing of the past with China looking to ban non-biodegradable bags by the end of 2020.

Despite our new-found distaste for the single-use carrier, the Earth Policy Institute estimates that nearly a trillion plastic bags are still used worldwide each year. That works out at 2 million every minute. As they will never biodegrade, bags often make their way out of our rubbish and into the world, end up caught on trees or floating in the ocean to poison, choke and entangle animals. Even when they do break down, the tiny pieces, called microplastics, have been found in our food and drinking water supplies.

As we have become wise to the impact of this

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