Plastic bags have made life convenient, and we hardly know life without them. Many households have found creative ways to reuse plastic bags to extend their usefulness, but sooner or later, 90% of them, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, end up in the same place — the trash. Read on to learn about small changes you can make to protect the planet in a big way.

Plastic bags are here in a big way, and recycling them is difficult. According to Consumer Reports, plastic bags are made of mixtures of chemicals, which make the extraction and reuse of their base materials difficult without the right equipment. Many single-use plastic bags end up in the landfill or littering the environment where they break down into toxins that contaminate food, water and air.

So, what can be done?

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, eight states have already banned single-use plastic bags. In the Midwest, plastic bags are starting to be banned at the city level in places as close as Chicago.

Goodwill NCW is excited to join organizations like Aldi and Costco, which have moved away from offering single-use plastic bags. This change at Goodwill NCW will go into effect in January. Customers will be able to purchase reusable tote bags in some fun designs or bring in their own. Using reusable bags reduces the amount of plastic in your home.

If you’re excited to protect the planet and learn how you can create a reusable bag habit, check out this blog. As for the plastic bags you already have, check out this how-to video from DIY with Denise on how you can recycle some of those to make your own reusable bags.

Thanks for joining the cause, thriftanista!