Wednesday, August 15, 2007

BYOB: bring your own bag

I'd like to say that my conscience is as green as my favorite burlap tote. In truth, I switched to cloth shopping bags when my curious baby started wrapping plastic sacks around her neck. (Everything is a scarf to her, including underwear.)

I just couldn't live with the danger of suffocation. Sometimes I forget, but shopping with cloth bags is largely second nature.

Now if only I could get another pair of arms to carry all these yard sale totes!


Green Tea & Kimchee said...

I have learned a lot about reusable carrying devices while living in Japan. Check out this link:

I have a small backpack I keep with me at all times, it is maybe 3 x 3 inches when folded and zipped, then it opens to a back pack and the zipper section becomes an extra pocket.

I've been seeing a lot of "instructables" on how to make reusable totes and shopping bags out of pillow cases, kitchen towels and old denim pants. Still, I have yet to see a westerner shopping with one, every japanes housewife I know shops with her totes in tow.

Anonymous said...

Tracey, thanks! Those are amazing links.

Anonymous said...

This week's Time magazine highlights Anya Hindmarch's hot "I'm not a plastic bag" tote. ( Included in this article were designer shopping bag solutions from Stella McCartney, for $495, and Marc Jacobs (nearing $2k).

The irony is stultifying!

Anonymous said...

$495.... ! That is like my entire food budget for the month. I can not imagine spending that much on a bag even if I had the income at my disposal.

A good friend of mine works at The Children's Place (clothing store) and the store was replacing its old shop around the store bags with something newer. They were just going to throw out the bags so employees were told they could have them. My friend grabbed one for me and for her. I use this huge, well constructed tote for everything and it was free! I suppose the upside for the store is they get free advertising when I carry it around. It's quite attractive too.

Anonymous said...

I use cloth too as I shop at Aldi. As far as forgetting the bags - just pop them back in the car after unloading the groceries. Thanks for the lovely blog!

Amy said...

I am a cloth bag gal myself. I don't know why I didn't make the switch sooner. I can fit all of my groceries into four totes instead of fifty plastic bags. It makes hauling things in so much easier for me- the evironmental factor is just a bonus!

Anonymous said...

I've got a reputation at local stores for my cloth grocery bags. I modeled mine after paper bags with sturdy handles. They're so much easier to carry than those plastic bags, no wimpy handles to cut into your hands.

Keep up the good ideas!

Queen of Carrots said...

I'm still curious about just how many bags it takes to do a family's worth of groceries. It seems like it would take an armada of cloth bags to get our groceries home, and they would have to be ubersturdy to handle many cans.

We only use plastic every other week when we hit the regular grocery, as we just use extra boxes at Aldi's. And that usually just keeps up with bathroom garbages and dirty disposable duty.

Anonymous said...

Someone on the Wardrobe Refashion website created a tutorial on how to make your own cloth bags using a plastic bag as a pattern:

I haven't tried it yet, but one advantage of that bag would be that it would fit in the little stands that the sackers use to hold the bags up.

I like straps that are long enough that I can stick my elbow through them while they are on my shoulders. It's amazing how much weight I can carry like that.

queen of carrots, it takes fewer cloth bags than plastic bags even if they are the same size because you can put more layers of things in without worrying about the bag breaking. And if the straps are thick enough, you can carry this extra weight relatively comfortably.

C said...

Here in Brisbane, Australia (and perhaps other parts of Aus, I'm not really sure) it's a common sight to see "green bags" at supermarkets but also at chain hardware shops, office supplies shops and so on. They are made of a non-woven polypropylene and have a long life span (ie they're not single use plastic shopping bags) but they won't compost easily which sorts makes you wonder how green they are. Still, it's got to be better than the single use ones - which incidentally I use to line my bins, why pay more for a special bin liner? We are a two-person household and only need a small bin.

Meredith said...

Q of C, enough plastic bags manage to make their way into our home, enough to line our wastebaskets without even grocery shopping!

I find that 3 roomy totes hold ALL the groceries I ever buy, with the exception of a watermelon.

Our Aldi is kind of an aggressive international market, and boxes are few and far between!

Anonymous said...

I live very close to a landfill so I am a cloth bag user and make no bones about it a few cashiers act like I have two heads but most stores give 5 cents for each bag I bring in I even use them in shopping malls most of the time. I work at a store that I see so many plastic bags go in the trash it makes me crazy. but can only do my part.