A woman shields her eyes from the sun while sitting on the front steps of Union Square Park in New York City on Wednesday, May 25, 2011. Her reusable cloth bag, though labeled with the insignia “Parsons,” represents a relatively new and touted eco-friendly, fashion accessory. Makers span the entire spectrum, from traditional markets such as Whole Foods, Trader Joes, and even Kmart, to luxury designers and trendy clothing stores, such as J. Crew and Rebecca Taylor. As an alternative to plastic bags, reusable cloth bags are promoted by many environmentalists as going a long way towards relieving bulging landfills and city dumps. While the reusable cloth bag first became popular as a means of carrying groceries, women lately have taken to sporting them in addition to their primary handbag as a means of storing separate shoes, gym clothes, books, and the like.
However, there is some concern in the industry that reusable cotton or canvas bags could actually be more environmentally harmful then their plastic counterparts. Do you think that they release more Co2 emissions then the now-shunned plastic bags during their production? It would be interesting to hear our readers’ view on the use and impact of plastic versus reusable bags. Please comment below.
Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.