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The Cotton Tote Dilemma


There has been a recent debate about cotton bags or totes being more harmful to the planet than plastic bags...what?! How did we get here?!

Cotton itself is a highly water intensive material meaning if you’re going to purchase it, you better reuse it to make it “worth it.” Studies reported by the New York Times say you would need to use a tote bag 7,000 times to meet the same environmental impact as a plastic bag. However, lightweight plastic bags use greenhouse gas-emitting fossil fuels, never biodegrade, pollute our oceans and do harm to wildlife. Tote bags are also much larger than a typical plastic bag, so the plastic waste that would incur from everyone using twice as many plastic bags would surely be more harmful in other ways in the long run? 

The problem is NOT the cotton bag, it’s our problem with overconsumption. If you have a few staple pieces to reduce waste like our reusable cotton produce bags, one-tripper bag, mesh market bag, etc. and plan to reuse, repair, reuse until forever-ever, you’ll be reducing an insurmountable amount of waste over the years. Not to mention, it’s no more cotton than say a t-shirt or a pair of jeans which people change much more regularly. (Please shop secondhand for these!)

This kind of thinking gets people flat out confused that they cannot do anything right in the name of our environment and serves little good. We believe it's not all hopeless, and having a few staple pieces is not going to destroy the planet. 
So “Buy less, choose well, and make it last!”
-Vivienne Westwood

Read the New York Times article here.

 

TESTIMONIALS/REVIEWS DISCLAIMER

Plastic-Free Living Blog by Me Mother Earth may contain testimonials or reviews by contributor writers. These testimonials reflect the real ­life experiences and opinions of such users. However, the experiences are personal to those particular users, and may not necessarily be representative of all users of our products and/or services. We do not claim, and you should not assume, that all users will have the same experiences.

Me Mother Earth was created by Amanda Runkle and Alberto Gomes who aren’t experts, just two Mother Earth loving humans who share their plastic-free tips and advice with the help of contributor writers. The various DIY & zero waste methods, suggestions, and tutorials on Me.Mother Earth are not error proof, they’re merely what worked for Amanda and Alberto along the way. Extra precautions and additional research are always advised and Me.Mother Earth cannot be held responsible for your personal health or the outcomes from any of the articles shared on our Blog.


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