Thursday, December 31, 2009

Reusable Shopping Bags

My husband did the grocery shopping yesterday. I forgot to send my reusable shopping bags with him. This is what he came home with:

24 plastic grocery bags for only $87.12 worth of groceries. They were floppy and a pain to unpack. I'm used to my strong, roomy, easy to fold and easy to carry totes. My totes can hold three times as much as a double bagged plastic bag. And now I have to remember to take these in to recycle. Regardless of the impact on the environment, these are a pain. I love my reusable totes. They even come in insulated versions:

They are easy to fold and stuff in one bag. Just grab and go. I put them right back in my car when I'm done using them so I'll have them the next time.

He also brought home several plastic produce bags. I like mine better. Aren't they cute? I made them with inexpensive tulle netting and cheap nylon cord. They are strong--I've been using them for a while and they can take even heavy loads. They are washable. They weigh very little. Produce doesn't tend to mold when you store it in these bags since they "breathe." The baggers at the store always want to know where I got them. I made them in different sizes. I gave some away for Christmas.

* Stores are making it easier to use reusable totes and grocery baggers actually like them!
* Most reusable totes cost $1 or less. Insulated versions are often around $2.
* My Whole Foods gives a $.05 discount for every reusable bag.
* My Trader Joes has a drawing every day for a $10 gift card for people who use reusable bags.
* When I lived in Korea, the stores charged about $.05-.10 for every bag they had to provide. Many municipalities in the US are considering doing the same.
* Americans use 84 BILLION plastic bags a year
* DECA reports that the price of plastic bags has gone up 84% in the last few years. That price gets passed on to the customers.
* DECA reports that 20,635,800 plastic bags were used by U.S. military commissary customers worldwide in 2007. If just 10% of those were replaced with reusable bags it would be a savings of $2 million a year. Imagine the savings if, say, Walmart customers used more reusuable bags!


  1. Great article, Sue. I admit we are plastic bag users, as we reuse them for diapers and cat litter. But I want to make the switch.

  2. Good post, Sue! Our church just gave reusable bags (with our church logo on them) to each family as a Christmas gift. We love it!

  3. Great post Sue...I was amused to see the Commissary green bags though! (I got a couple of them myself! ;-D ) I do *hanging my head in shame* use plastic bags quite frequently, but I planning to make myself and my sister some cute ones to use.

  4. Great blog post! I have some great market bags but don't always remember them. We have been pretty good about asking for paper instead of plastic when we forget. Our grocery stores here give us a 5 cent credit as well per bag that we bring. And in Germany, I took my bags everywhere since if you didn't bring a bag, you carried it out in your arms or you paid for a bag. I love those produce bags!! I'll have to do that soon!

  5. Dear Sue-You are hands down the most organized, and tidiest person I have EVER known!
    Brilliant blog and even this is orderly! You amaze me!
    xoxo, Daffy

  6. Thanks everyone.

    Daffy, you haven't seen the mess that is my jewelry bench in the midst of the creative process. It's a disaster. And my pantry is a nightmare.

  7. Liz, I hope you do make the produce bags. The tulle is a pain to work with, but you'll do it better than me.

  8. :(..we use those awful little plastic bags...but I try and reuse them for bathroom trashbags, trashbags in the truck, etc....
    Another thing we reuse are the large plastic bags that our stove's pellats come in: during the winter they become our trash bags :)

    Great post!

  9. Great post! Glad to see the word spreading about reusables! I was so concerned with those plastic bags and the problems they create that I started a small scale recycling project from my kitchen.

    Now I'm recycling those plastics for more than 20 families and together we've kept over 4500 plastic bags out of the wastestream.

    Follow our progress at