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Monday, April 23, 2007I kind of skipped over Earth Day due to all the planning for the Lactivist Bash, but a shopping trip yesterday reminded me of it.
For two months now, I've been trekking off to Whole Foods every two weeks hoping that their new shipment of grocery bags would come in. Each week, I'd leave disappointed.
Yesterday, I loaded up the kids and we headed across town to stock up on some basics. Greg and Elnora love the Whole Kids brand organic honey nut cheerio's and I buy Kashi Golean Crunch six boxes at a time. This time around, we were not disappointed. The new bags were in!
For those who have no idea what I'm talking about, check out this shot...
You'll note two cloth grocery bags hidden behind all those layers of plastic bags. I bought them months ago when I first spotted them at Whole Foods. At the time, I thought that they always sold them so I only bought enough to carry my groceries from that day. On my next trip, they were gone and I learned that I'd have to wait for the spring shipment to get more.
So yesterday, I spotted the new bags. They're $1 each and hold a TON of food. In fact, the two bags that I do own nearly always hold a week's worth of groceries for me. It's only when I'm stocking up on staples that they don't cut it. (And for those days, I have some inferior cloth bags from Giant Eagle. Now I can pass those on to someone else and use the awesome Whole Foods bags.)
What does this have to do with earth day? Well, estimates are that more than 80% of purchased items go home in one of those plastic bags these days. Around these parts, there seems to be an unwritten rule that you can't put more two items in a bag. That means that I often came home with 15-20 bags from a single shopping trip. While it's true that many stores are now offering bins to allow you to recycle those bags, recycling still uses resources. Why not avoid the plastic bags altogether?
(Check out the site Reusable Bags for more info.)
Since the bags were available again, I picked up eight of them. I've got three for my grandmother, three for my mother and two more for me, giving me four bags total.
Not convinced that you want to help save the environment? Here are a few more reasons to use these bags instead of plastic ones...
1.) They hold way more than the standard plastic bag. This reduces the number of trips to and from the car AND keeps you from that painful feeling of plastic bag cutting into your hands as you try to carry too many bags at once.
2.) The straps are long enough to sling over your shoulder. I can carry one bag on each shoulder and one bag in each hand and get ALL of my grocery inside in one trip.
3.) No more "what do I do with all these plastic bags" questions. I hated throwing them away, never remembered to recycle them and ended up with huge collections of these things laying around.
4.) They fold up super small. I carry two of them with me at all times in my diaper bag. I'll likely add two more and carry four with me. That way, I can use them even if I hadn't planned on shopping. I've carted stuff home from Target, grocery stores and even clothing stores in them.
5.) They're great for taking stuff places. I've packed Elnora's clothes in one when she went to the in-laws on a weekend. I also used two to carry supplies to the Lactivist Bash this weekend.
6.) They save you money. Some stores actually give you a credit if you take your own bags in. At Meijer, the credit ranges from 5 cents to 50 cents per bag, depending on who is ringing you out. Either way, the bags paid for themselves in just a few trips.
7.) They're darn sturdy. I've had both paper and plastic bags bust on me and wow, is that not fun. These bags are super strong. I've loaded them down with enough weight that I almost couldn't comfortably carry them and they've held up under the pressure.
So if you've got a Whole Foods near you, take a trek, get some bags. If not, check out the wide range of reusable bags available online.
Labels: Healthy Eating