Almost every day of the work week, my husband makes his lunch. Usually everything he brings for lunch does not fit in a regular paper bag and so far, he's too cool to take a reuseable lunch bag (although I almost got him to agree to a camoflauged one, but as soon as he realized I would actually have to buy this bag, he declined). His bag of choice is a plastic shopping bag. However, a half a year ago I really started to be committed to using re-useable shopping bags and my plastic bag stash had become depleted. He's now making do with whatever bag we have, but asks me if I can please bring a few home now and again!
There is no denying that plastic bags are bad for the environment, which is why I have been convicted to use the re-useable ones. Plastic bags are not biodegradable. They are ingested by animals. They use a ton of oil to make. There are hundreds of billions of them made each year, and it is estimated that only 1-3% are recycled, which means the rest take up a lot of room in landfills. There are many ways to re-use plastic bags, such as using them for trashbags, for used kitty litter, for wet clothes, and ---insert one of a thousand other reasons here---. However, I hope you will consider reducing your usage of plastic bags. Here are a few tips to reduce your need for plastic bags and some rah rah pro re-useable bag benefits that apply to you.
1.You can fit much more into a re-useable bag (and it holds much more weight), meaning less trips from your car to your house.
2. Most re-useable bags have long handles meaning you can carry them on your shoulders. More comfortable and again, less trips from your car to your house.
3. Keep some re-useable bags in your car so you don't "forget" to bring them to the store (which was my #1 reason for not using them). My awesome, now retired Midwife, Gwen, gave me the tip that if I hung one on my door knob or somewhere that I will see as I'm leaving, it will remind me to grab them.
4. When you are at a store and you buy one or two things, ask the cashier not to give you a bag. They will look at you wierd, and ask you if you are sure, but still insist.
5. When you are shopping at multiple stores, put your purchase from the second store into the same bag that's holding your purchase from the first store. (For instance if you buy a shirt from Macy's and already have a bag you are carrying from a toy you bought at the Disney Store, just put the shirt in the Disney Store bag.)
6. If you buy something in the store that is already in a bag, just put it in your cart, you don't need to put it into another bag. For instance, if you buy a 5lb bag of potatoes, it will just go into another plastic bag and there will be no room for any other items. Why waste the bag when it's alread in a bag? I do this with a gallon of milk, too. It already has a handle, why do you need it to go into a plastic bag that has a different kind of handle?
7. Not all produce needs to go into a plastic bag. For instance, a bunch of bananas will be fine in your cart without being in a bag.
8. Make sure your cashier knows that you have your own bag. They are very used to scanning and putting the item right into their bags that sometimes you have to tell them several times that you have your own bag. Side note - I once was exchanging an item in a store and went to put the new item in the bag I brought the old item in. The cashier was insisting I take a new bag because the one I had was all "wrinkly." Because I guess the bag needs to remain pretty for me to enjoy the item I bought?
9. Many stores now offer a small cash incentive to use your own bags. The stores I go to give you $0.05 per bag. For me, it works out to about $20 a year. Not a big deal, but I'll take it!
10. It's a really easy step to take to helping the environment.
There are some states that have plastic bag bans. There are many that hope this happens in NJ, too. I think if it does, we will quickly be used to not using plastic bags. Try to get used to it now. Please humor me and next week do something to use one less plastic bag.
Please feel free to add to my list...and Thanks for Bagging!!!!