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BYOB (Bring Your Own Bag)

Like my co-blogger Enviro-Beth, I too have a pet peeve.  Mine is plastic.

I’ll admit it – When the canvas bag started making an appearance, I didn’t really ‘get’ it. (I wasn’t always green – before, I could only recycle the newspapers. As a kid, I tried sneaking in my old homework into the newspaper bin until my Dad broke the news that the township wouldn’t take them.  It hurt my feelings to put those in the trash.)

So why are reusable bags important?

Think about all the errands you run in a day.  Picking up lunch at Wawa, groceries from Trader Joe’s, bath & cleaning products from Target… The cashiers all try pushing plastic bags on you.  (Once at Target I bought 1 item – and the cashier refused to let me leave the store without it.)  All these plastic bags add up.  Although you can use them for your garbage cans – you can’t possibly use them all.

You can recycle plastic bags.  But here’s a statistic for you: Only 1% of the 500 billion – 1 trillion bags used worldwide each year are recycled.  And they end up killing wildlife and  harming the environment because they don’t decompose easily.  Watch this slideshow about the impact of plastic bags.

Here are some advantages of using canvas bags:

  • Canvas bags fit way more groceries than plastic. You can fit a basket full of goods in 1-2 reusable bags, which ends up as less bags for you to carry.
  • They’re cheap – Stores sell canvas bags starting at $.99
  • Save $$! Stores often give discounts when you BYOB (Bring Your Own Bag)
  • Durable – Ever have that embarassing situation of leaving a store and having your goodies end up all over the parking lot? Reusable bags won’t break like the plastic bags you’re used to.
  • Cities are going anti-plastic– San Fran has already banned plastic bags in grocery stores, and Seattle is currently looking at a 20 cent charge per plastic bag used.  The trend is catching on.

Using plastic is a tough habit to break.  Invest in a few reusable bags – keep some by the door at home, in your car or office.  Try to remember to bring the bags with you into the store – and if you forget (as I have before) you can request to take the grocery cart/ basket to your car and empty your purchases into your car.

Posted by Julie

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Julie Hancher is Editor-in-Chief of Green Philly, sharing her expertise of all things sustainable in the city of brotherly love. She enjoys long walks in the park with local beer and greening her travels, cooking & cat, Sir Floofus Drake. View all posts by Julie Hancher

6 thoughts on “BYOB (Bring Your Own Bag)

  1. Pingback: Friday Link Round-Up: 08/01/08
  2. i can never have enough plastic bags – i use them for my dog’s doo-doo and to clean out our cats’ litter box… i don’t know if they’re the biodegradeable oncs, but at least i’m using them more than once… which justifies my action a bit.

    and what’s with some of the supermarkets double bagging you with a paper bag inside the plastic one… sure it’s pretty sturdy to carry the bags – but what a waste!

  3. Kman – You can purchase biodegradeable bags from Petsmart – they have a pack of 100 for $6.99 so your dogs can be green too!

    I agree – But the supermarkets won’t have to double-bag if you bring your own! 😉

  4. Julie, I got my canvas bags today. Looking forward to my next trip to the grocery store… and leaving the store environmentally guilt-free!

    Nice post, Julebay!

  5. I just purchased a canvas bag from R.A.G. and I’m loving it. I don’t know why I didn’t convert to canvas earlier!

  6. A whole bag for one item? WTF? I feel your pain, Julie. But stress not, my fellow bag haters. Just come to I Don’t Need A Bag and blow off some steam.

    IDNAB!

    It’s a revolution!

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