Friday, January 4, 2008

Being a Bag Lady

Did you know that if you shop once a week and take home only four bags of groceries, you will use 224 plastic grocery bags a year? Just think about that for a moment. In five years you will have used over 1000 plastic grocery bags. And let's be realistic, how many of us actually get all our stuff into four of those little bags? In fact, I'd be willing to bet that six bags a week is probably more the average if you take into account the bags you get from all the other places you frequent. That's 312 a year or a whopping 1560 over a five year period. If the average large city has a population of between 500,000 and 1,00,000 and if you make the average family size four people and every family replaced plastic shopping bags for four weeks, that would keep 3-6 MILLION plastic bags out of the landfill. And that's just one city.

For an investment of as little as 99 cents a bag, you could do your part to keep millions of plastic bags out of the landfills. Everyone wants you to buy their new 'eco-friendly' shopping bag - so why not find one you like and invest in a few. They don't have to cost a lot of money - they just have to be sturdy. I've noticed, too, that most of them hold far more than the standard plastic ones. You could even make your own if you were so inclined - that way you could have funky and fun bags that you want to show off - a good reason not to forget them in the car!

After thinking this over, I have decided to actually USE all those bags I keep buying at my grocery store. I have about 8 or so of them, but I keep forgetting to use them. I will buy a few more (I keep using them for other things and never have them all in the same place) and will put them in my car. When I bring grocery bags upstairs, I will put them right back at the front door to go back into the car. I do use them now and then, but I never seem to have them with me when I want them. Today I got a plastic bag when buying books - so I'll bring a canvas bag to work and leave it in my desk drawer for next time.

And if you happen to have too many plastic bags in your cupboard - don't throw them away when you declutter. Take them to your local thrift store and they can reuse them.


Peter and Roma said...

I hear you on the bags, Jackie. Living in a remote, rural area we have to take our garbage to the dump (landfill) ourselves. The white plastic bags blow out of the pit and all over the land surrounding the dump site. There are even bags stuck up in the trees! It is so gross!
Another place to take extra plastic bags to is your local library. If I forget to take my book bag I ask for a plastic bag to take my books home in.

Maisie said...

I have been using cloth/store reusable bags for over a year though not always remembering to take them.Some stores here will give you a free rplacement when the bag wears out, and they recycle the old one for you.

I have recently bought a couple of the supermarket hesian bags which will easily hold 4 4pint milk cartons and other things in fact you have to worry on weight rather than capacity.

I keep them in the boot of the car and always have a small cloth one in my handbag.

What you could do with the plastic bags if you have to use them is save them up to use for bin liners or take to a charity shop for them to use, saves them having to pay out for new ones; or as you are having a garage sale later in the year save them for that, people always seem to need a bag at garage sales.

Peaceful Valley said...

Great idea on making your own bags. We reuse our plastic bags but I could use some of my cloth stash to make bags. Thanks Jackie! ~Susan in SC