Taming the plastic sacks

I just got back from a shopping trip.

Between Staples, PetSmart, and SuperTarget I came home with 20 plastic bags.

I only go grocery shopping about once a week, we try to push it to about 1.5 weeks between trips, but not more than 2 weeks.  We do have a local grocery store, and we do get some stuff there, but they can’t compete on price and selection.  Yes, I know, I spend money to get to the bigger stores, and maybe if I compared the money I spend on gas with the money I save on the groceries, the savings might not be as big as I’d like to think, but the selection would still convince me to make the trip.

I’ve been reading about people buying or making reusable shopping bags, and I know it wouldn’t be hard to do, but egads.  Can you see me strolling into SuperTarget with 15 or 20 reusable bags?  The cashiers don’t ever pack the bags as full as I probably would if I were doing it.  And even if we stuff everything into fewer bags, that’s still a LOT of bags to haul into the store with me.  Maybe not.  Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad.  Maybe I wouldn’t feel like a total weirdo doing it, but something’s got to give here.

The cabinet in which we stuff plastic bags got so full that I finally pulled them all out a few weeks ago.  We do use the bags to line the small trashcan under the kitchen sink, but we don’t generate enough trash to equal the amount of sacks being brought into the house.

The bags I pulled out of the cabinet are still sitting in the garage — in a larger (plastic) trash bag.  I need to remember to take them with me sometime, because I think one of the big stores has a place where you can drop off bags to be recycled.  I’d like to figure out how to not have so many to begin with.

Any suggestions?  Going shopping more often, thus buying less at a time is not an option.  It’s a 30 minute drive one way.  Should I try making a bunch of bags (hey!  a fabric stash busting project!) and see what happens if I try to take them to SuperTarget?  Will they even let me use them?

Sign me,

Drowning in plastic bags

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  1. joyce says:

    We always carry home made cloth shopping bags. I find that it takes many fewer of them. I made them quite big, although a few are smaller for heavier items. The thing is that a lot of stores double bag and you don’t have to do that with cloth. My problem is that I bake bread and freeze 5 of the 6 loaves and i have to go begging to my daughter for her used plastic bags because I often have none.

  2. kayp says:

    making shopping bags is one of my to do things for 2008. i’m starting with 6 bags. even if i need a couple of plastic ones each time, at least it’s fewer than normal. i think if i stuff them inside of one another it won’t be a big deal to take them into the store. and yes, the busting stash is a motivator! the bag pattern i’ll be using i got from this website http://www.andsewitgoes.blogspot.com

  3. Kate says:

    Why not start with a few cloth bags – even if you can’t get all 20, it’s a start – and you’ll find you can get a lot more in a cloth bag than a cheapo plastic one, so perhaps it won’t have to be a one for one substitution. I’ve moved almost completely over to cloth ones here – of course, there’s more of a trend in Europe so it’s a bit easier…

  4. Patti says:

    Out here in the “green” pacific northwest – where we are known for having more environmentalists than any other part of the country – cloth shopping bags are very common. In fact our grocerty was giving away three free bags to anyone who spent $75. That was right around Thanksgiving. The bags are large and strong and hold as much as 3 or 4 plastic bags. The stores love it because it lowers there costs. In fact may of the stores here have boxes near the doors for recycling the plastic bags. Other stores will give you a small discount if you either bring plastic bags back for reuse or use cloth bags. It’s just not as odd as you might think!

  5. runandsewquilts says:

    Another Pacific Northwesterner here… I have used reusable bags for years. I get them at yard sales and Goodwill. Now the stores carry them for 99 cents. It’s not that difficult to haul them into the stores. It’s more difficult to get the clerk to understand that I have my own bags.

  6. Terri says:

    My grocery has resuable bags for sale and I bought 4 of them. I can usually get most of my groceries in those bags. I tell them to pack them FULL.

    BUT the bags have the name of the store printed prominently on them and I feel a little uncomfortable bringing them into another store………

    AND I use those plastic bags when a walk my dog! Now we have a derth of dog-doo bags………an unintended consequence………….lol

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