But due to their durability, plastic bags take can take up to 1,000 years to decompose, according to a 2003 National Geographic article.
The UK Environment Agency said that about 76 percent of plastic grocery bags are reused, and Save the Plastic Bag Coalition asserts on its website that 40.3 percent of plastic bags are reused as bin liners.
So who will win the bag wars? Are plastics on the way out? Are reusables the future?
Statistics of overall bag use are hard to come by, but a 2009 report from the US International Trade Commission said that 102 billion plastic bags are used in the US.
Suzanne Boothby is a Brooklyn-based wellness writer, certified health coach and co-founder of New York Family Wellness. Visit www.suzanneboothby.com to learn more.
Edited by Kate Kunkel