Those thin plastic grocery bags have an average useful life of 12 minutes and then end up in the landfill, as litter or wrongfully placed in the recycling bin. Littered bags clog storm drains and can end up being eaten by wildlife or entangling animals. As the bags shred from exposure to the elements, they break up into smaller particles called microplastics. The microplastics can easily transmit to the rivers, creeks, streams, and Puget Sound affecting the native organisms that call those places home. Paper bags are recyclable, but they have a carbon footprint from production and transportation. The best way to eliminate unnecessary waste is to bring your own reusable bags to the store. And they’re easier to carry when full of groceries.