Well, the answer isn’t so simple. The study by the English Environment Agency found that the real environmental cost of a bag, whether plastic, paper, or cloth, is heavily rooted in the production side of the product. A plastic bag Malaysia actually has the smallest environmental impact out of those three materials. So in order for the quote-unquote longer life bags to have a smaller environmental impact, they need to be used multiple times.
For paper, the study claims that it needs to be used three times in order to equate a single use of a plastic bag, and for cloth, that number skyrockets to 131 uses. This definitely shouldn’t be taken to mean that single-use plastic bags are the best option. When possible, it should avoid using them, but for those who already have a drawer full of plastic bags at home, reusing is key for mitigating the negative effects of that plastic.
There is no need to go out and buys a brand new reusable tote if there are already usable plastic bags go green at home. Buying new reusable bags, everything when going to the store just perpetuates the problem. Reducing the use of plastic bags has rightfully been a focus of environmental initiatives, but it zooms out they are a small part of a much larger environmental picture. For example, it takes 40 times more energy to make a hamburger than it does to make a plastic bag Malaysia and even more frustrating, only 100 companies are responsible for 71 percent of all carbon emissions ever since 1988.
The choices as consumers are important, but humans also face imperfect options based on production side decisions. So reducing plastic bags shouldn’t be viewed as the sole contribution to climate change mitigation. It’s a small alteration that needs to go hand in hand with other actions like reexamining how much food bought from the very same grocery store, so it doesn’t end up away throwing 5 pounds of vegetables at the end of the week. In short, the bag chooses matters but not as much as how it came to be there, what’s put in there, and how it’s used.