My Reusable Bags Are In My Car… Again!

Reduce Footprints is currently doing daily challenges.  Here is yesterday’s:

Reduce the number of plastic bags you use by getting a fabric or reusable bag for shopping. Although plastic bags use 70% less plastic than they did 20 years ago, most are still made from polyethylene, a non-degradable plastic. If you live near a brewery, you can obtain 15-20 gallon durable, synthetic grain bags which breweries usually throw away. These can either be used as garbage bags or rinsed out and re-used to take trash to the dump.
I think one of the biggest issues with reusable bags is forgetting them!  It took me almost a full year to remember to bring them into the store every time.  I am so glad I kept at it.  
Benefits To Using Reusable Bags

Plastic bags are not healthy for the environment.  The problem – plastic never goes away! If it ends up in a landfill, it can take up to 1,000 years to degrade. Even then, it actually photo degrades which releases toxins into the soil, air, and water. Lots of plastic makes it way to the oceans (heard of the Pacific Garbage Patch). In the oceans, plastic bags can strangle animals or they mistake plastic bits for food. Not such a healthy meal.

Save Money.   Many stores give discounts – Target, Whole Foods, and Stop and Shop give you 5 cents per bag. Roche Brothers give 5 cents for their bags to Children’s Hospital.   Make sure to ask at Target, they often forget.

Easier to carry.  My 5 reusable bags are usually enough to hold groceries for my family of 5 for a week.  It is so much easier to carry in 5 sturdy bags from the car than the 10 floppy, wiggling all over the place, twisting around your fingers plastic ones.

    How To Remember

    Location, Location, Location.  Put the bags where you will see them.  Mine are right next to me in my car.  Maybe a convenient place for you is with your keys.

      Convenience.  A few years ago, I won this great Esse CarryAll Tote for my reusable bags.  All of the grocery bags and produce bags fit nice and neat inside and make it so easy to carry.  You don’t need to spend  a lot of money on something like this if you don’t want to.  Use another tote bag to store your reusables.  Think about buying ones that fold up compactly so they aren’t floating around your car.  Another idea is to use a carabiner clip like this to hold your bags together.  You can then clip the bags to your grocery cart.

      Esse CarryAll Tote
      Carabiner Clipped bag

      Always Have One.  I have a  compact reusable bag in my purse at all times.  Carry them in the car, purse, backpack, briefcase, whatever.

      Shop At Stores That Encourage Reusables.  When I first started bringing my reusables, my grocery store was giving 5 cents per bag.  It wasn’t a lot of money, but it was enough of a trigger for me to remember.  Now they have signs all over the parking lot “Did you remember your reusable bags?”

      Notes.  Place a note in the car, on your shopping list or as you leave your house.  Got Bags?

      There’s An App For That! As I was writing this post, I thought there must be someone out there writing an app for this.  And there is!   The Grab Your Bags app is coming soon for the iPhone according to their website.  I didn’t see it on iTunes though.  

      Just Keep At It!  Like I said, it took me almost a full year.  Just keep trying.  It will become second nature.  I never leave my car now without thinking – do I need a bag?

        There are other ways to reduce one-time bag use.
        Produce Bags
        1. Don’t take a bag.  You don’t always NEED a bag. Throw that lemon straight into your shopping cart. Carry your one or 2 items out of the store in your hands or another bag you are already carrying.
        2. Use reusable produce bags.  Many online and retail stores are now carrying produce bags. I purchased mesh draw-string bags at a dollar store at 4 for $1. Or reuse the same produce bag a few times.
        3. Reusable bags are good for more than just the grocery store.   Keep a compact one in your purse. Bring your reusable bags to the Mall, Target, any store!
        Did you remember your bags?

        Disclosure: I did not receive any compensation from Esse for this post.  The opinions expressed in this post are my very own.

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        5 Responses to My Reusable Bags Are In My Car… Again!

        1. Small Footprints March 5, 2012 at 6:31 pm #

          I don’t know what it is about reusable bags … I keep them in the car but grabbing one to take into the store just doesn’t happen. At first, I’d kick myself and take a plastic bag and feel rotten about it. Then, I started telling the cashier not to bag anything and just put it back into the cart. Yeah, I’d get some strange looks but I’d just tell them that I have reusable bags in the car and I’d bag everything out there. It works great … not only don’t I use plastic and don’t worry about remembering the bags, it seems to open a conversation about avoiding plastic. 🙂

        2. The Greening Of Westford March 7, 2012 at 3:17 pm #

          That is a great suggestion! If YOU can’t remember them, there must be others out there. And what a great way to open up a conversation.

        3. Jennifer Hunter March 7, 2012 at 9:11 pm #

          I have finally gotten good at remembering to take my bags out of the car with me when I shop…running out after them enough times has been my training. Also, here in San Jose, there is a city ban on plastic bags. So, if you do forget your bags, the store is going to charge you 5 cents a bag for a recyclable paper bag…great motivation. I hope more areas start this kind of positive motivation for our environment.

        4. The Greening Of Westford March 8, 2012 at 1:58 pm #

          I hope so too Jennifer. I can remember when I was young, we shopped at a grocery store that charged you 2 cents per bag. My Mom NEVER paid that 2 cents. I think we used boxes from the store. Another store in our town did that too,in fact their nickname was “No Bags Spag’s” Spag’s being the name of the store. The place was always packed. They didn’t even have shelves. They would stack the boxes the items came in and cut them open so you could take out what you wanted. When a box was almost empty, it was like gold! That became your shopping bag.

        5. Wonderful post! Thank you for sharing!

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