Monday, July 7, 2008

It's in the Bag

I recently read that Americans use over one billion plastic bags a year. That's a lot of bags ... and most of them get tossed into the garbage and just end up polluting our earth. It seems that using paper bags isn't environmentally friendly either.

When I first thought about buying a reusable shopping bag, they were quite expensive. Yes, I will admit that my dedication to the environment is tempered, somewhat, by the personal cost and inconvenience associated with saving the planet. The fact is, I'm all for saving the planet if it doesn't cost me too much and if it's relatively easy. So, for a long time, I carried plastic bags back to the store and reused them until they fell apart. This worked and while it wasn't ideal, at least I wasn't getting a new bag each and every time.

I'm happy to say that reusable bags are now affordable and can be found in many stores. I recently bought two of them from the local whole foods market. They are made from recycled soda bottles and are tougher than tough ... and they carry most everything that I come home with in a shopping trip. I received another one from a special cousin (a Trader Joe's Bag) and it, too, is durable and big. Between the three bags, I'm covered.

Now my biggest problem is remembering to bring them to the store with me. I keep them in the car which, one would think, should make it easy. But, I have a tendency to fly out of the car without thinking about them. I'm getting better at it, though. And when I forget them, I simply pass on the plastic bags, tell the cashier that I will bag them at the car and off I go.

There are times that I end up bringing home a plastic bag but I've reduced the number that I use dramatically. And when I do end up with plastic, I try to extend it's life by using it to line garbage pails, tie up stinky garbage or to wrap up fresh veggies.

I encourage everyone go out and buy at least one reusable bag ... think how proud you'll feel when you can say, "No bag, please ... I have my own".

For more information on this subject, click here: BAGS

As always, I would love to hear your ideas for reducing, reusing and recycling.