Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Plastic Bag Alternatives

I have often found myself thinking about this subject. When grocery stores around me started selling reusable bags for 99 cents, I purchased 4 from my regular store. I have since added more to my collection- 3 from another grocery store and one from Ace Hardware (it was free with purchase- bonus!). I have come across coupons from various stores giving them away with purchases and offering discounts. In fact, I save 5 cents for each bag I use each time I go grocery shopping. But now I have an additional incentive to start using the reusable bags- not having to pay for plastic bags.

Seattle will start charging 20 cents a bag in January (story at this blog). The City Council recently voted 6-1 to approve charges for grocery, drug store and convenient store paper and plastic bags. That cost can add up quickly.

But I LOVE my reusable bags. I have learned that I can fit what might take up 3-5 plastic bags into one of those reusable bags, meaning less trips to and from my car. In addition, the straps are more comfortable carrying than the straps on plastic bags. And the bags are very durable. I just empty them out and put them back in my trunk so they're handy when I need them.

However, I have found it a little uncomfortable at times to pull out a bag for a store like Albertson's when I'm at a store like Target. So I have started looking for other reusable bags that are more universal (and no one has commented at all about my using bags from their competitors or other stores other than to thank me for bringing in a bag).

Some of my favorites I've run across at Amazon (because of their low prices) are these and these. What are your favorites?

Are you already using reusable bags? Do you plan on using them in the future? I'm thinking that this trend will continue, and it's best to be prepared.


Angie said...

I see reusable bags at the stores around here, but I've never known anyone to use them. I bought one for Ikea when they first opened(the only store in this area that charges for bags), but I never remember to take it. I recently bought a big bag, that would be a great reusable store bag, I really should start using it.

Terra Hangen said...

I have long used cloth reusable bags which I keep in my vehicle. For a universal look, consider joining a conservation group, like World Wildlife Fund or National Wildlife Federation.
They offer attractive bags with songbirds, or bears, or nature scenes on them, as incentives to join, or when I sent them extra money or renew membership.
Membership is only about $30 and that includes a magazine!
I am a member of those two groups, and of Defenders of Wildlife, which also offers the canvas bags.
Terra at

Tennille said...

I love my reuseable bags! My main reason for buying them was that I could fit more in them then the plastic bags and the last 10 times I have been to the store at least one of the plastic bags have failed on me...
I have some from target but mostly I use some I got from
I love that they are stylish but still fuctional.

Rachel JL said...

I was glad to hear recently that Target recycles their bags. It seems like most of the local grocery store chains that used to do so ended up stopping for whatever reason (the bins mistakenly got used as trashcans, for one.)

I always forget to bring my bags, too. I'm glad several have mentioned putting them back in your car just after emptying them. That just might work for me.

I have a friend who always seems to remember his. (And he's a guy!) Pretty organized, that friend. :-)

Lisa said...

I recently started using cotton bags that I bought when one store I go to was out of real plastic bags and only had produce bags. I love them. I think people think I'm a little fanatical here in Poland, because I grocery shop like an American and therefore fill 10 bags, instead of having one or two half full, like most of the people around here.

My bags are plain beige, as basic as can be and are so comfortable and hold so much. It's great that you're posting about it, as I think a lot of people still don't even think about the reuseable option

Katz said...

I have 2 bags that I bought from the local grocery store. My toddler plays with them and I always forget to take them with me.

Patty Skypants said...

I've been using cloth bags since the 70's and have quite a collection of totes. I've made my own out of decorator fabric remnants purchased at JoAnn's and other fabric stores. Over the past 25 years I've had store clerks refuse to bag my groceries in these bags, but things have become more friendly the past couple of years. The most articulate argument for not using plastic is the winter landscape . . . driving along and seeing dozens of plastic grocery bags trapped in the high branches of the trees could be the most depressing sight of all!

Blackdove said...

Many grocery bags nowadays ARE biodegradable, although they look like plastic. Here's a nifty way to convert these grocery bags into trash bags. It's easy to do, convenient to use, and earth-friendly.

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