Reusable Bags: Not Just for Groceries Anymore

By Paula Detwiller

If you’re reading this blog, chances are you’ve already acquired a few reusable grocery bags, and you use them—when you remember to—at the supermarket, the health food store, or the GreenMarket.

Well, it’s time to “think outside the box” with your reusable bags. Consider these additional opportunities to put those bags to good use:

At the hardware store. Let’s say you’ve stopped for saw blades, light bulbs, and a 10-pound bag of potting soil. You need a sturdy bag that won’t rip (like paper might) or score your fingers (like plastic does, under weight).

At the drugstore. Prescriptions, toothpaste, Band-Aids and that 24-ounce discounted bottle of shampoo will pack nicely into your reusable bag. Swing it over your shoulder and walk out proudly. You’ve just saved another plastic bag from the landfill.

At the beach. Flexible, sturdy, and sand-proof, reusable bags are great for beach necessities. And in the event of spilled juice, you’ll be glad you aren’t using your $50 monogrammed tote bag.

At the mall. We love carrying our new purchases home in those fancy branded shopping bags. But isn’t your closet already full of them? And don’t you feel guilty throwing them away? Be a trendsetter with your clean, stylish, reusable bags and kiss that guilt goodbye.

Tips for Remembering your Reusable Bags

  • Keep bags up front in your car, rather than in the trunk where they’ll be “out of sight, out of mind.” Stuff them between the driver’s and passenger’s seats for maximum visibility and grab-ability.
  • Very important: put your bags back in the car after you’ve emptied them. Or hang them wherever you hang your keys, so you’ll remember to put them back in the car next time you leave.
  • Write at the top of your shopping list “DON’T FORGET SHOPPING BAGS.”
  • If you enter the store and realize you’ve forgotten your bags (we’ve all done this!), summon the will to walk back to the car and get them. Remind yourself that plastic bags can take up to 1,000 years to decompose, and paper bags are made from trees.

One response to this post.

  1. Office Depot, Walmart and similar stores also sell a plastic rolling cart for about $30. When not full, it folds up like a briefcase. Holds about $80 in farmers’ market or grocery store purchases and around $250 in pastured meat/raw milk purchases. Lasts about a year even if you abuse it heavily and goes well on buses: sits out of the way on the seat next to you. The best part: no matter how heavy you’re farmers’ purchases are, you can still walk home with them.

    Here’s a pic:


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