What's the deal with plastic checkout bags
The plastic bags used to pack groceries consume a deceptive amount of energy. From PlanetArk, this claim:
The amount of petroleum used to make one plastic bag would drive
a car about 115 metres. The 6.9 billion plastic check-out bags
we use every year is enough to drive a car 800 million kilometres
or nearly 20,000 times around the world. ((PDF file))
Obviously, the world does not need to consume all these bags yearly; shoppers should reuse these bags whenever possible. Barring that, reusing the bags as trash can liners also helps.