Friday, January 25, 2008

Grocery Bags

This morning the Muffin Man and I were watching the Today show over coffee. They have this series on going green where everyday they try to give you little tips on saving money and doing right by the environment. Go green.

They showed Matt Lauer "shopping" for groceries at this amazing store that looked like a high end converted train station. Obviously this store was in Manhattan. Ahhh, if only my dirty Meijer looked so nice. I found myself hard pressed to believe that Matt Lauer really shops for his own groceries in a suit and tie. But they did have these nifty grocery bags which are reusable in the piece. They were pretty bright colors and reusable. The grocery store clerk commented that she asks people if they want to purchase the reusable bags to cut down on plastic consumption. On my last trip to Meijer not only did they not even offer me paper...they were very careless about unsticking the plastic bags from each other resulting in me getting about 10 extra bags. I commented that I'd like to make sure we only got the number of bags we needed and I would help separate them only to be given the serious hairy eyeball by the clerk.

The Muffin Man made the comment that this reusable grocery sack stuff was fine for the slick urban folks who shop for about 2 bags of groceries at a time. Us suburbanites with 2 kids, pets, and a costco membership would simply never carry the 25 bags we would need to the grocery store each and every $220.00 run to fill the cart. He scoffed. I told him "Fine, pull your stupid straight republican ticket." And then I walked into the kitchen and poured myself another cup of Dunkin Donuts coffee that came in a huge plastic bag from Costco.

All day long I've been thinking about those ridiculous grocery bags. Why wouldn't we just get the bags hang them in the pantry and use them? Really is it that much more work? I make handbags for heavens sake. I could make the bags out of canvas or oilcloth.

Perhaps it is for spite, or genuine interest in reducing our rather large environmental footprint but I think I'm going to make the grocery bags and see if I can make it work. Yes, I think I want them in pink frilly patterns and then make HIM take them to the grocery.

Does anyone know where to get super cool looking oilcloth at ridiculously low yardage prices?


Chinazhoumom said...

In England (this was over 10 yrs ago) you had to pay for bags - so you were more inclided to use a carry bag then pay 1p per bag...Sorta like how you used to have to pay for glass bottles - they should do that - for all the plastic bottles..I think more people would return them..
Just my 2 cents-of course I looked at buying bags online - real cute ones - $18 -are you kidding - not happening...(but they were cute)
(mind you I would have needed about 8-10 bags)

Diana said...

It hasn't been that hard for me. I live in a city where people scoff at me if I don't bring my own. Costco, here in Colorado, sells a six pack of blue bags with a red handle that are quite roomy. I just put them back in the car after each trip. I can't stand the clutter of plastic bags from the grocery store. If only we could ALL take these small steps...and then maybe big steps someday. Your conscience is trying to tell you something- go with it :)

tshapedgirl said...

Our Costco started selling reusable bags- they're huge! And awesome. I also have a small stash of reusable bags- which I often forget when I go shopping. I am trying to get better. It's definitely becoming more the "norm" around here.

And hey- if you make some really cheapy (yet stylish of course) canvas shopping bags for sale- let me know!

Sandwitchedin said...

The grocery store in our area sells their own reuseable bags. Plain black with a cuisine type graphic. The bags are bigger than a plastic bag and smaller than a paper bag. The cost - 99cents. I have 5.

I spend over $150.00/week on groceries, there are 2 of us. What a difference it has made in the supply of plastic bags in our house. I didn't have a mere cloth plastic bag holder hanging on a hook, it was the bottom of a coat closet using up valuable real estate. Our store also takes back the used ones for recyling and has a special bin in the entry way for this.

Cashiers have a tendancy to put 1 or 2 items in a bag. I would re-bag stuff before I left the store and through the extra plastic bags in the recycle bin. Cashiers put more items in the reuseable bags, they pack better and are stronger. No heavier than lugging 7-10 plastic bags with 1-2 items. One reuseable bag can handle it.

At home I empty the bags, fold them up and put them by the door. When I go out I put them in the car. I always have them with me. Took a while to get used to that, but now it's automatic.

TIP: put the reuseable bags on the conveyer belt first or the cashier will start bagging with plastic.

joybucket said...

Sorry I'm late for this post but I have to comment given I make reusable grocery bags. You really should just make your own! I make mine out of rice bags from restaurants. They just throw them out anyway. I went to Chipotle and asked if they could save some for me and they did. They are made from a plastic polyweave stuff and are very strong. Just cut them down and make a simple tote bag for yourself.

My biggest problem at our local grocery store is getting the baggers to use them correctly. The first couple times I put them on the conveyor like sandwitchedin suggests except they didn't use them - they neatly folded them and put them into a plastic bag. ;)

I can fit into 3 of my reusables what would normally fill 12 of their plastic. It's just getting into the habit of bringing them and using them.

Annette said...

I found you off of Julie's blog and am late on this one... I saw the same story and wasn't there some amazing statement that if every family took just one of these bags to the store each time they shopped we'd save something like 41 Million trees each year?

I used to take canvas totes with me all the time to the store - but have gotten out of the habit. But like you, this is on my mind and I have started trying to take them with me wherever I go.