Do you bring your own shopping bag when you go to the market?
Nowadays, markets offer paper bags instead of plastic bags to protect the environment.
This is because plastic does not decompose easily in the soil and cause contamination.​​
When you go grocery shopping, bring reusable shopping bag.

Plastic Bag Consumption Facts

In The United States

    • According to the Environmental Protection Agency, over 380 billion plastic bags, sacks and wraps are consumed in the U.S. each year.
    • According to The Wall Street Journal, the U.S. goes through 100 billion plastic shopping bags annually—almost one bag per person each day. (Estimated cost to retailers is $4 billion).
    • Four out of five grocery bags in the U.S. are now plastic.
    • The average family accumulates 60 plastic bags in only four trips to the grocery store.


    • A person uses a plastic carrier bag on average for only 12 minutes.
    • On average we only recycle one plastic bag in every 200 we use.
    • Each year, an estimated 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags are consumed worldwide. That comes out to over one million per minute. Billions end up as litter each year.
    • Windblown plastic bags are so prevalent in Africa that a cottage industry has sprung up harvesting bags and using them to weave hats, and even bags. According to the BBC, one group alone harvests 30,000 per month.
    • According to David Barnes, a marine scientist with the British Antarctic Survey, plastic bags have gone “from being rare in the late 80s and early 90s to being almost everywhere. ” Plastic bags have been found floating north of the Arctic Circle near Spitsbergen, and as far south as the Falkland Islands. Source: British Antarctic Survey
    • Plastic bags are among the 12 items of debris most often found in coastal cleanups, according to the nonprofit Center for Marine Conservation.

Sources: International Fund for Animal Welfare, the Environmental Protection Agency and other agencies or persons as cited.


How many times must a bag be reused?

Once all of this information has been distilled, scientists can usually offer a fairly straightforward guide: the number of times a given bag should be reused when compared to the standard supermarket plastic bag.

A 2018 Danish study, looking at the number of times a bag should be reused before being used as a bin liner and then discarded, found that:

    • polypropylene bags (most of the green reusable bags found at supermarkets) should be used 37 times
    • paper bags should be used 43 times
    • cotton bags should be used 7,100 times.

Another UK study, which only considered the climate change impact, found that to have lower global warming potential than single-use plastic bags:

    • paper bags should be used three times
    • low-density polyethylene bags (the thicker plastic bags commonly used in supermarkets) should be used four times
    • non-woven polypropylene bags should be used 11 times
    • cotton bags should be used 131 times.

Credit: Jeremy Piehler/Flickr, CC BY-NC