New Year’s Resolution: Saving the planet one plastic bag at a time

So when did plastic bags become the evil nemesis of the environment?

In March 2007, San Francisco became the first city to ban shopping bags. Large grocery chains and pharmacies will not be providing plastic checkout bags within a year. Other cities may follow suit.

It seemed to come to a head last year when a slew of plastic bag alternatives began to hit the market. Making the news last year was a canvas tote with the words ‘I am not a plastic bag’ enscribed on it. It was available in the U.K. but soon it was fetching more than $400 on eBay. Everyone from Lily Allen to Alicia Silverstone was photographed using the tote to carry their groceries. Soon after that, it seemed that reusable grocery bags became mainstream.

IKEA now charges 5 cents per bag, while on the flipside, Henry’s, a local independent chain of grocery stores, credits the receipt 5 cents when a bag is provided. The more popular markets seem to be catching up; Albertson’s and Ralph’s now sell their own reusable grocery bags. As for me, I have a Baggu which I stash in my purse.

Contents of my purse

My purse can be quite full. When I commuted to work via train, I tossed in my breakfast, a book and other necessities that helped me survive my day. But there was always room for the Baggu. Baggu is packed into its own matching pouch. When I tell the cashier that I have my own bag and hold up the Baggu pouch, they are always surprised at the packaging. Some even joking that they can’t possibly fit all my groceries in the pouch. That’s when I whip out the Baggu.

Contents of a night of shopping

In actuality, Baggu carries quite a bit. According to the Baggu’s Web site, each Baggu can carry up to 25 lbs. and hold groceries 2-3 times the capacity of regular plastic bags. So far, the only reason I’ve had to use more than one Baggu is when I visit more than one store. Even at Target, a Baggu can hold both a monster load of toilet paper and a box of Capri-Suns without even a rip.

Walking with Baggu
“Belvedere, my good man. Please place the bags on the counter.”

Admittedly, some clerks are more progressive about customers bringing their own grocery bags. When I first used a Baggu last summer, I got a few blank stares. Some people never saw a reusable bag before. As for the baggers, some even think that it gives them a free pass NOT to bag your stuff because you brought your own damn bag!

Other plastic bags alternatives are available. As mentioned, Albertson’s and Ralph’s sell their own version. They can also be purchased online such as here and here. I just like Baggu because of the colors available especially a non-fussy green version which is being used, reluctantly at first, by the male component in the household.

Plastic bag-wise, I still find a good use for them when I’m not recycling them. I use them to line the trash cans in the bathrooms.

To balance out my good-deeds-for-the-environment karma, I think I’m going to grill up some delicious endangered-species kabobs over a kerosene fire.

12 thoughts on “New Year’s Resolution: Saving the planet one plastic bag at a time

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  1. What a great New Year's Resolution! I mostly shop at Whole Foods, and they also do the 5 cents off your receipt for bringing in your own bags. I definitely want to stop the madness of the many destructive bags, but have yet to shell out the cash for reusable bags. I like the ones at whole foods that keep your foods cold (or hot, I suppose), but they are so expensive! Also, I always get the plastic/paper combo, which makes me look very wasteful at the check-out counter, but I always reuse for kitchen trash.

  2. LOL! Great blog! I see these bags hanging from the checkout stands at our local Draeger's. Never knew they held so much. Much more than the "I'm Not a Plastic Bag" to whose charms I admittedly fell victim. Looking forward to reading more of your blog 🙂

  3. I keep a bunch of bags in my car, but often forget to bring them into the store. I have several Whole Foods ones and some Target ones. I tend to get them for free at film festivals. I did buy one canvas bag at TJs a couple of years ago. I'd probably do better with one I carry in my purse, although I often don't bring that into the store either. I need a bag I can carry in my wallet or cell phone!

  4. "ass-wee-pay" on the graphic — TP never had it so good. Fun photos there!i almost always use cloth bags or canvas totes for when i shop at People's Co-Op, Trader Joe's and Henry's (my usual grocery stores)! i see lots of good folks at TJ's using cloth bags, too. Makes me smile. If you use yer own bag at TJ's, they let you sign up to win stuff at the checkout line! Free shwag, woo hoo!! (And they've never not bagged my groceries, i love TJ's, have i mentioned?)Great post. Definitely good to do what you do! That li'l Baggu is deceptively helpful when it opens wide. Size doesn't always matter, i guess 🙂

  5. I have two sets of similar bags, called Envirosax, which I loooove. I love them so much that 85% of my holiday list got some from me this year. 🙂

  6. I love your purse! Where did it come from?I got a few Method "go green" totes from their promotion and they also hold a lot more than you'd think.

  7. Hi Foodette–Thanks. Did you hear that Whole Foods will be getting rid of disposable plastic bags?? Hi Sheri–Thanks for visiting! I admit too that I want that "I'm Not a Plastic Bag" despite my Baggu.Hi Anonymous–Yes, sexy man legs…Hi Photogirl–No on the man servant. :(Hi Jodi–Wow… you are a minimalist! I need to start living that way…Hi Kleopatra–Glad you're using a reusable bag.Hi Just Jenn–Sorry you missed out on the panda kabobs. They were delicious.Hi Jeena–Thanks for visiting. I'll check out some of your recipes.Hi Nanette–What a great idea to give them away as gifts. A gift that keeps on giving!Hi Mrs. Mogul–Reusing plastic bags are good too!Hi Leanne–Thanks! My purse is a Seatbelt bag designed by Gary Baseman.

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