Don’t Forget Your Reusable Grocery Bags!

| 8/1/2008 3:18:11 PM

Tags: reusable bags, plastic bags, cost of landfills,

Everyone tends to think of the disposable plastic bags that stores hand out as free, but actually, we pay for them... to the tune of about $4 billion a year, according to the Wall Street Journal. Not only would our groceries bills come down a bit if everyone would bring reusable bags when they shop, but we would also be taking a small step to protect the environment and conserve our non-renewable fossil fuels (most plastics are made from petroleum). Plastic bags are generally not biodegradable — even the ones that claim they are! When the bags blow from landfills into lakes, rivers and the oceans, animals sometimes mistake them for food and are killed when they swallow the bags.

According to The Wall Street Journal, billions of plastic grocery bags are handed out every day in the United States.

In a recent poll, we asked visitors to Mother Earth News if you brought your own grocery bags to the store. Here’s what we found out…

Do you bring your own grocery bags? (362 responses)

I try, but I forget sometimes

6/5/2009 12:07:20 AM

I was trying to find a bag I could use to grocery shop that wouldnt fall apart and looked good. I really am not a fan of the Nylon ones that are out there. I am not saying they are not any good. They just arent what I want or need. I did come across a couple of fabric bags. I purchased one and started using it. It ended up paying off. Instead of me being charged 5 cent tax I actually go to stores now that refund me for bringing in my bag. I have purchased 4 more since. I get 3 cents from Safeway, 5cents from Fred Meyer and 6 cents from Winco. That is per bag I bring. I love the fact I can wash these when they get dirty. I have had them for 7 months and the patterns are crisp and the bag has held up even after putting a 20 pound watermelon in one. I use them all the time. I found my bags at They werent on the front page of a google search but after looking through all the bag companies I found this one and knew I had to share.

6/4/2009 11:56:39 PM

I found a really nice reusable bag. The company ended up being local too. Instead of me paying a plastic tax I get a refund of 3 cents at safeway, 5 cents at Fred Meyer, and 6 cents at Winco foods. The bag I purchased were made of fabric. Real pretty fabric and I can toss them in the wash should I get them dirty. I bought 1 and loved it so much I went back to the site and purchased more. I am not into the nylon plastic type bags that tucker and a few others sell.I am not saying they are bad just that I found something really nice made of fabric. The site I purchased them was They seem to have some good prices and I have already received enough in my refunds from local stores to have 1 paid off.

9/4/2008 9:58:44 AM

We used to forget our bags until we switched to TuckerBags. These bags tuck into a cute attached pouch and are easy to store so I can grab them quickly when shopping. They hold the equivalent of two plastic bags and look cool - I always get positive comments on them.

8/13/2008 1:32:27 PM

I just recently found out about creating a reusable shopping bag from the plastic bags. I made one by cutting the bags into strips and crocheting it into a bag. Crazy fun idea! There are a number of blogs and website with instructions for making one.

8/10/2008 5:19:42 PM

You gave me an idea. I'll make them as gifts from leftover materials, can even use some plastic bags I have stored, just iron them under paper to melt and form into a bag for garden.

8/9/2008 10:17:04 PM

Remembering the reusable bags was tough at first, but now I take them most of the time. Putting the bags back in the car as soon I finish unpacking groceries helps!

8/7/2008 5:07:35 PM

I always re-use the bags, one way or another (for garbage, put in recycling container at store, shop with them again, etc.). What I really want to do is remember to bring my own take-out container (Rubbermaid, Tupperware, etc.) with me when I go out to a restaurant, so I don't need their styrofoam container!

8/6/2008 1:46:20 PM

I'm ashamed to admit that I'm in the majority of your poll, Laura and I have about four shopping totes that I never use because I am forgetful. I always remember them when it's too late: when I'm at the check-out stand. What I need are totes that can shrink into my purse so that I have at least one or two with me wherever I go...that way I don't have any excuses!

vicki patton
8/4/2008 11:23:35 AM

If readers go to the website of they will find resources for making shopping bags as well as a wealth of other topics.

jessie fetterling_2
8/4/2008 8:33:47 AM

I had been trying to buy a "green" bag at the local grocery store that I go to for a couple of months, but every time I asked for one they were sold out. This upset me because I couldn't get one of my own, but at the same time, it made me happy because I realized how many other people were buying them. In the mean time, I used my purse or other bags that I had to carry things out of different convenience/grocery stores. I finally bought some from my grocery store a month or two ago, and I got pretty excited about it. I don't know why someone wouldn't get one.

8/3/2008 11:13:12 AM

I started using canvas bags when I shop last year. It is one of the easiest things a person can do to help out the environment. I have some with me at all times so no matter where I am there is no need for me to use plastic. I see very little of this where I live and really wish there was a bigger push for it. Maybe a charge to customers to purchase each plastic bag they use or a credit for the use of your own bags.

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