How many cotton tote bags do you have? The bags have been touted as eco-friendly alternatives to plastic bags. In some cases, they've become brand-boosting fashion statements. But as Grace Cook recently wrote for the New York Times, the ubiquity of the totes may have led to a new environmental problem: the bags are water intensive and associated with forced labor. According to a 2018 study in Denmark, Cook writes, "an organic cotton tote needs to be used 20,000 times to offset its overall impact of production." Disposing of or recycling the bags also poses a problem.
So what should customers do? Our guests this hour weigh in on possible solutions, sustainability, and the future of packaging. Our guests: