Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Oh Wait! I Have My Own Bag!

So, it sometimes seems like I am the only one at the store with a reusable bag. This week I was met with a confused look from the cashier in Target when I presented my bag for my items. He tried to find a price on the bag, then looked at me again when I said that was to use to hold my purchases. He asked almost incredulously, if I wanted him to put my things in that bag once he realized I was not buying the bag itself. I haven't had this much of a conversation about it in a while, so it is a reminder that we still have a lot of work to do here! I've had my shopping bags for a few years, and it took a while to get into the habit of using them, but it has been well worth it. I'd love to see more folks saving trees and plastic, so I'll give you a little tutorial.

First - decide you are going to shop without using one of the store provided bags, whether it be paper or plastic. Like almost anything, making the decision to change is key.

Next, choose a bag. I know you have random cloth tote bags from a trade show, or from when you donated to the public TV station, or the one you bring to the beach. Just use that - no need to buy one. You can even use a paper or plastic bag or two from the last time you went grocery shopping. If you do feel like you need "gear" to make this happen, try reusablebags.com for lots of great choices. You can also always get one at the store - they have them right there by the registers if you want to make an impulse change for the better! I have chico bags, which I like because they fold up small enough to go in my purse.

Then, decide where you will keep your bag. This is the hardest part - lots of folks have a bag and plan to use it, but then it is at home when they need it or they leave it in the wrong car... Try a few ways to see what works for you. I keep mine in a drawer in the kitchen right under where I hang my car keys. I just throw them in my purse when I leave to go shopping. It's a great place for me too since I remember to put them right back in the drawer after I unload them.

Bring your bags where ever you shop! Reusable bags are not just for groceries. Bring them anywhere you would ordinarily get a bag - the home improvement store, big box stores, the pharmacy... Just be sure to let the cashier know you have a bag to use in place of the store bag. You may have to repeat yourself, and I find it helps to do your own bagging, especially in stores that see very few people using reusable bags.

That's it! So easy, and so much less waste. Wash your bags out every now and then - of course if they get soiled, and especially if you are using them for meats. Happy shopping!

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