Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is a summary of quick facts about disposable plastic bag (DPB) use?
Each year, an estimated 500 billion to 1 trillion DPBs are consumed worldwide. That comes out to over one million per minute. Billions end up as litter each year.
According to the EPA, over 380 billion DPBs, sacks and wraps are consumed in the U.S. each year.
According to the American Forest and Paper Association, in 1999 the U.S. alone used 10 billion paper grocery bags, requiring 14 million trees to be cut down.
Hundreds of thousands of sea turtles, whales and other marine mammals die every year from eating DPBs mistaken for food.
DPBs don't biodegrade - they break down into smaller and smaller toxic bits contaminating soil and waterways and entering the food web when animals accidentally ingest.
New biodegradable plastic-corn blend or plastic-sugar blend bags are a step in the right direction where composting facilities are available, but consumers will need a lot of education to learn to separate them from DPBs, and they do not decompose quickly in most industrial or municipal landfills..
According to David Barnes, a marine scientist with the British Antarctic Survey, DPBs have gone "from being rare in the late 80s and early 90s to being almost everywhere from Spitsbergen 78 degree North [latitude] to Falklands 51 degree South [latitude]".
DPBs are among the 12 items of debris most often found in coastal cleanups, according to the nonprofit Center for Marine Conservation.
In 2001, Ireland consumed 1.2 billion DPBs, or 316 per person. An extremely successful plastic bag consumption tax introduced in 2002 reduced consumption by 90%. Approximately 18,000,000 liters of oil have been saved due to this reduced production. Governments around the world are considering implementing similar measures. San Francisco adopted legislation that bans the distribution of DPBs by grocery chains as of September 2007.
Using a high quality reusable shopping bag, such as the 4RPLANETBAG, has the potential to eliminate thousands of plastic bags over its lifetime. Moreover, each 4RPLANETBAG is made of 100% recyclable fabrics and, through our use of CO2 offsets, will be 100% carbon neutral. In addition, we are a member of 1% for the planet, an alliance of businesses that pay a voluntary earth tax and donate 1% of all sales to non-profit, non governmental environmental organizations (for more information, visit onepercentfortheplanet.org).
2. I already have a cotton canvas tote for my shopping so why should I upgrade to the 4RPLANETBAG? FAQ
In short, most cotton totes are not the sustainable option we think they are. The vast majority of cotton canvas totes on the market today are made from conventional cotton, that requires more than 3 lbs. of chemical fertilizer and pesticides to produce the cotton for each bag. More and more forested land is cleared every year to plant cotton crops, thus reducing the available worldwide forest to absorb the CO2 that we are emitting.
Cotton is easily soiled, harbors mold or mildew when left damp, and there honestly are few cotton totes designed with a large enough bottom to properly pack prepared foods without their spilling, or in the pannier shape that helps keep fragile fruit and vegetables from being crushed by heavier items on top of them.
3. Who are we?
4RPLANETBAG.COM was started in 2007 by Eliot Goldwarg, a father of two, from Montreal and Grace Macris, a mother of three, from New York, both of whom are very concerned about the environmental legacy we are all leaving for our children and grandchildren. Grace, who has been bringing her own bag shopping for quite some time, is also quite style conscious. She has always wanted a bag to carry that would not only be useful, but would also look good! Although there are other stylish alternatives out there, Grace wanted to design a bag she could call her own. Eliot has been involved in textile manufacturing for 30 years. He and Grace met in 2006, and 4RPLANETBAG.COM has been the result of an ongoing conversation about how to solve one particular environmental problem through combining their respective expertise.
4. Is my personal and financial information kept private?