Thursday, February 28, 2008

BYOB ~ eco totes

Paper breaks down in 2-5 months in a landfill, but can you guess how long it takes for a plastic bag? One thousand years. Yes, that's 1,000 years! Those fly-away plastic bags scorned by environmentalists like me will survive long after our grandchildren's great-grandchildren have turned to dust.

Have you considered taking your own bags when you go shopping? It's all the rage now, and I have three green bags that I keep in the car just for shopping. Mine were inexpensive, but I really like the ones pictured here that cost $8 (left, above) or $7 each (right, above) I like the Milano style, with its single 2-inch strap at $7 (left).

A store that opened a couple of years ago near our bookstore charged twenty-five cents each for bags (I think it was). Other stores give back a nickel if you bring your own bag, according to this USA Today article. Americans throw away about 100 billion plastic bags annually, and that's reason enough to be concerned.

My green bags (like the one at the left) have inserts to keep the bags flat. I have never tried loading one as full as the one below because I don't know the weight limit. What I like about the ones above is their portability; they wouldn't take much space, unlike mine with the big flat inserts. Yeah, I want one of the mesh bags!

One other note: cashiers at my stores are used to filling bags brought by customers, so you won't raise any eyebrows when you show up with yours.

BYOB = bring your own bags


Unknown said...

you have no idea how many green shopping bags I've bought and how I manage to forget them at home every time I go shopping. I console myself by taking all the plastic carriers down to the recycling depot. But it's not really quite good enough, is it.

Bonnie Jacobs said...

I posted this information about eco-totes on Thursday, here on this blog, and then mentioned them again on Friday on my Bonnie's Books blog:

Then last night (Friday evening, mere hours later) I ate out with my granddaughter and went with her to a poetry reading at the university. On my way home I stopped at the grocery store to get a few items ... and the man checking out ahead of me was using his eco bags.

Then and only then did I realize ... duh! ... my green bags were in the car. That close! But I had forgotten to take them into the store with me. The man said, "You can't imagine how many times I have done that. It will take time for us to always remember."

Forgive yourself, Vanilla, and let's just keep trying to remember. At least I have gotten as far as putting the green totes back in my car after I use them, and that's a start.

Dewey said...

Good grief, I have never tried loading a bag as full as the bottom one because I assume my spine would revolt by crawling right out of my body and looking for someone who'd take better care of it!

Our grocery store sells bags that look like your green bags for EIGHTY CENTS. It's amazing! We bought about twenty of them, because that way there is always a pile in the car, even if some don't get put back immediately after a shopping trip. They're also great for bringing things back and forth to work, for bringing food to potlucks, for storing yarn or knitting projects, etc. They're very sturdy for something so inexpensive!

Here, some stores will give you a quarter off your grocery bill for every reusable bag you bring in. It's not piles of money, but it's an incentive for many people, I think. And I appreciate it!

Anonymous said...

I only ever use green bags after trying to save a little whale that had washed up on a beach in Sydney who had ingested several plastic bags. He was suffocating. Sadly, we couldn't save him. I still cry about it to this day.