Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Re-Usable Grocery Bags - Work for Me!

I usually grocery shop at Sunset (a local chain), although at least once a month I hit Jewel or Dominick's. At Sunset, not only do they bag your groceries for you, they even take them out of the cart -- serious luxury for this girl! The other thing they ask you at Sunset is...."paper or plastic?" I must admit, I always thought that paper was the better choice...until I read these statistics:
plastic bags consume 40% less energy to produce than paper pags,

and plastic bags generate 80% less solid waste than paper bags.

as waste, paper bags produce 70 times more air pollutants than plastic bags,

and as waste, paper bags produce 50 times more water pollutants than plastic bags.

Plastic takes up to 1,000 years to decompose!
(stats from the Clean Green Bag)

The final answer...neither is really good. In fact, both are pretty darn bad.

So Sunday, at Dominick's, I picked up four of their re-usable tote bags, and the nice lady loaded my groceries into them. My thoughts:

- What would have probably filled at least 10 plastic bags all fit into 4 reusable totes and one plastic bag.
- They were pretty heavy but totally held up.
- The handles made them easy to carry.
- For only 99 cents a piece, they were a great deal!

Are they sturdy enough to hold up? Listen to this little facty: "A sturdy, reusable bag needs only be used 11 times to have a lower environmental impact than using 11 disposable plastic bags." (The Sierra Club) I think my bags will make it.

I'm so excited for them! (My only other question: Will Sunset care if I bring in Dominick's bags? Maybe that will convince them to get their own!!!)

Here are some links to sites where you can get reusable bags or learn more about them...

A bag roundup from this week's Chicago Tribune

Here's my question for you: Would you use these bags? What would get you to do so? AND...what do you do with newspapers for recycling? That's the only thing I use the paper bags for. I can use the bags that come with the newspapers for diapers...

P.S. I ended up giving away all four of my bags to kids at Sunday School as I shared this story with them. Now I have to go and get more! But it was worth it -- the kids were so excited about promising to get their parents to use re-usable bags!

See more Works for Me Wednesday at Rocks in My Dryer...


The Egel Nest said...

Well this is of course a great idea...I just have to convince the beautiful wife to try it...she does the bulk of the shopping...and by the bulk I mean all :0

It is a fine effort towards Tikun Olam!

The Egel Nest

Anonymous said...

I have been talking about getting a reusable bag for so long. It is time I do it. I can't stand the plastic bags pile up around here any longer.

Anonymous said...

One of our local chain groceries, Aldi, charges for bags. We usually just take the laundry baskets and load up!

Lara said...

I think it's a great idea but I use the grocery bags for garbage bags at home. I figure I'm doing my share of recycling that way!

Kacie said...

I have one reusable bag, and you're right--you really can fit a lot of stuff in one! I use plastic bags as trash bags and recycle the rest of them. I think I should get more reusable bags, though.

Anonymous said...

Trader Joe's has insulated bags with a Hawaiian theme. They're good if you live in warm weather and have ice cream, eggs, etc. I haven't bought one, but I do carry a collapsible cooler in my trunk at all times.
I tried reusable bags many years ago before it was hip, but I found them to get very dirty quickly. I reuse both paper and plastic grocery bags and I don't buy any garbage bags, saving both money and the environment.

M said...

Great links for bags. I use Trader Joes large coated bags but tend to pick up cloth bags at various stores...even Target sells them now! I like my TJ's bags the best because they are durable, don't get dirty and have long handles.

After awhile you get used to bringing your own bag. Maybe stores will start charging for disposable bags soon as they do in many European countries.

Reighnie said...

if they were sturdy and cheap, I would use reusable bags.

At the moment we have a use for all the plastic bags that I bring in the house.

Cynthia said...

I use the reusable bags...I think this is a great post...I did not know the stats on paper bags, good to know!

Amy said...

I ordered my bags through Reusable and I have been so incredibly happy with them. What would have taken me fifty trips, now takes two :) Who can argue with that?

Great post!

Anonymous said...

Seems as though we had the same idea this week. : )

Kim said...

Many of the local grocery store in Ontario Canada are selling reusable bags or even plastic baskets. You can use any at any store but you some stores give you a few cents discount for using their bags at their stores.

Rebecca said...

I would use reusable bags, have never seen where to buy them at. If I get paper bags I use those to keep my paper recyclables in the house before putting them in the bin outside. I use my plastic bags for my bathroom garbage can. Recently I used them at my yard sale for people to put their items in and to pass along baby clothes to a friend.

I'll have to look into the reusable bags. The thought of bringing less bags into the house is fantastic!

Jane said...

I just switched to bringing my own bags too. I actually prefer it because it is so much easier to carry and they don't rip. My dh still gets bags because we use them for garbage. Still by one of us cutting back it makes a difference.

Target makes a 99 cent tote that zips into it's own pouch and makes it super easy to carry in my purse. I like it because I can use it at Joannes or other smaller stores where I really do not need a big plastic bag!

Funny thing is that some of the clerks don't get it when I wip out a tote bag!

bella said...

I love my reusable cloth bags/totes. They are practical and sturdy. they don't break and leave your groceries spilling out over the stairs. They are prettier, more fun to look at. They help me not buy too much - only what can fit in the bags.

SAHMmy Says said...

Great reminder! I have to bag my own groceries at my cheapo store--may as well put 'em in reusable bags! I do recycle the plastic bags (Target's are especially durable)for dirty diaper disposal :)

Unknown said...

We always use reusable bags here. No problem.
One can buy them in bagshops and they're made from thick canvas and leather.

If necessary I'll wash them.

They're perfect for us, which says something, because we have no car and get all the groceries on the bycicle.

You asked about recycling papers?
Each month a group of people from this part of town come with a truck to collect them.
They are used to make new paper.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the links. I've been thinking about doing this for quite a while now.

A Juggling Mum said...

The large chains have been offering these types of bags here in Australia for quite some time now and I think it's great. Not only are they good for the environment but they are also easier to carry, hold more and are easier to pack in the trolley as everything stands up nicely :)

Rachel xxx

Anonymous said...

Just came across your post - and really enjoyed it. I have been making re-usable grocery bags out of the plastic bags by cutting up the bag and knitting it into a brand new tote bag! It's sturdy and and cheap - as I have a lot of plastic bags saved up. Eventually I'll run out of plastic bags at home. Hopefully by then I'll have enough "new bags". Just a thought for those who knit or crochet!

--Bess in NH

Green in the desert said...

I have bags from Safeway, Sprouts, Trader Joe's, and 1 bag at a time. They are very sturdy and I have had no problem with them getting dirty. I love having to only carry 2-3 bags instead of 6 plastic bags. San Francisco has already banned grocery stores from using platic bags, and I am sure that other cities will follow.

JCK said...

This was a great post! Thanks for the stats. It has motivated me to go get those wonderful bags at Trader Joe's! Since I practically live there anyway, I have no excuse. And one of my personal goals is to be living a more green life and to be teaching my children to live that way. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I have two dogs that each poop three times a day--that's six plastic bags! Also, your local animal shelter uses plastic bags to pick up poop, so if you are still getting plastic bags at the grocery store and not re-using them for other purposes, you may donate them to the nearest animal shelter. On the other hand, another dog-walker once pointed out to me that we are picking up something that is biodegradable with something that is not. However, my neighbors STILL want me to pick up my dogs' poop!