Monday, May 5, 2008

Bag it Up!

One of the easiest things I've done in the process of going green is switching to reusable bags for my grocery shopping. Several months back, the commissary (grocery store for military folks) started offering the reusable bags for less than $1 each. I had been looking around at some cute ones online that were way more expensive but had been hesitant to pay close to $10 each for them since I'd likely need several to fit all of my groceries. When I saw the ones in the commissary, I snatched them up, deciding that price was more important than beauty. After all, they are holding things like raw chicken and string cheese, not competing in a beauty pageant.

I decided to keep the bags in my car to be sure to have them on each shopping trip. I had such good intentions. You know what they say about good intentions, right? Inevitably, I would get into the grocery store and halfway through my shopping I'd realize that my bags were still safely locked in the back of my car.

You don't actually think I'd leave my cart full of food there and go back for them do you?

Good, because I didn't. At least not for the first four trips or so. I'd chalk it up to a mistake and promise myself next time I'd remember.

Finally one day, I got serious. I have been taking my bags on every trip since. Recently, at Trader Joe's, I forgot to bring them in and I actually parked my cart near the front and ran out to get them. It's become more important to me as I realize just how many plastic bags our family used to go through in a week.

From the grocery store alone, I'd have an average of 10 plastic bags per trip. Sure, I'd save them to use for something around the house but even so, they'd get one more use at the most before sitting in a landfill somewhere.

Then, there's my trips to Target. Oh, Target. How do I love thee? Let me count the bags. I'm not yet as disciplined at Target but I have taken my reusable bags into Target a couple of times with me recently and the cashier hasn't batted an eye packing them with my purchases.

Sure, not loading landfills and oceans with the plastic bags is good enough reason to use reusable bags but I have a better (albeit more selfish) reason that can motivate me on the laziest of days. When I walk out of the grocery store with my cute kind of ugly green bags, I feel good about it. I feel like I'm actually helping and doing my part. As a matter of fact, I can't think of a good reason not to use them. Can you?

Another reason I love reusable bags? Convenience. They have a handle that fits easily on my shoulder. It's so nice to have free hands to open doors for myself and hold my kids' hands as we cross the parking lot. They also hold a lot more stuff so there's less bulk to carry into the house when I'm unloading the car.

My next step is to get a few mesh bags to put my fresh fruits and vegetables in so that I can stop using those annoying plastic bags that always rip right as my cucumbers nestle into the bottom.

Do you use reusable bags yet? Have you gotten the mesh produce bags? If so, share what kinds of bags you use and how you like them.

Here is an article with 10 good reasons to use reusable bags rather than plastic.


Maternal Mirth said...

We reuse our plastic food baggies. We buy the FREEZER kind with thicker plastic. Once we use them, say on cucumbers or onions or cereal, we fill the sink with hot water, wash and air dry the bags hanging over a stand that actually came with a cookie bouquet.

Some bags get used over and over. The only exception is ones used to store raw meat, then we have to throw them out after a use, but we try to use older ones 1st.

It's small, but between the money I save and the waste I save from landfills ... I feel good.

I also started using reusable bags purchased from our local store.

Christy said...

Hey, our commissary doesn't sell those! Maybe we'll get some soon, we are still using plastic bags since I've never found any reusable bags cheap enough to buy several of.

Nikki said...

Great sight! I just found you from a link from I Should Be Folding Laundry. I just bought RuMe reusable bags as Christmas gifts for my sisters-in-law this year. Like you, I wouldn't buy them for myself (I use my kids' old preschool book bags), but thought it would be a fun gift to 'spread the green.' Might also get them a SIGG water bottle.

Gray Matters said...

Great blog - found you through redesign with Beth.

I bought some mesh bags from produce and then read a blog where she was using mesh laundry bags (which are pretty cheap and you can usually find them at the dollar store).

I'll be back.