Welcome to Green Boot Camp

Welcome to Green Boot Camp blog, a 52-week program to help you become a greener you in 2008. This is the companion blog to The Lean Green Family (formerly Suddenly Frugal).

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Week Seven--Choosing Reusable Bags for Food Shopping

I've written often on The Lean Green Family (formerly Suddenly Frugal) about the importance of using reusable bags when grocery shopping. Over here at Green Boot Camp, that is the habit I'd like you to focus on changing for Week Seven of our challenge--bringing your own bags with you when you grocery shop instead of relying on the disposable plastic bags at the checkout counter.

As I'm sure you know, plenty of supermarkets offer reusable bags for sale for a nominal price (about $1). Some bags are bigger and better than others. For example, my local Giant supermarket offers a green-colored reusable bag that doesn't look like it holds much whereas SuperFresh sells a reusable grocery bag that looks like one of those giant totes that people take to the beach. The reusable bags from Whole Foods also seem similarly large--and will be a must come April, when the stores do away with plastic bags all together at checkout.

I never thought I 'd say this, being a Target girl at heart, but I'm partial to Wal-Mart's reusable shopping bag, made from recycled soda bottles. It's fairly price at $.99, and slightly chic because it's black and says, "Paper or Plastic? Neither" on the side in bright green letters (see photo above). But what really makes me loves these bags is that they are deceptively deep and large. I could easily get four or five cereal boxes in each bag when I take them with me when I go shopping.

Since I like to avoid spending money whenever possible, I have avoided having to pay for reusable shopping bags (save for the Wal-Mart ones. I bought them to package Christmas presents in and ended up with leftovers). Instead, I've dug out all of the canvas bags that I've received as giveaways at conferences and events I've attended over the years, and turned those into my reusable shopping bags. I mean these kinds of bags are everywhere. Just this past weekend my daughter went to an academic competition at Villanova University and what did she come home with? A canvas bag that I can now add to my reusable stash.

Take some time this week to see if you can locate similar reusable bags so that the next time you go food shopping, you can bring your reusable bags along.


Kacie said...

I own one cloth-style reusable bag, which I love. You really can fit a ton of things in it! And, it folds up small.

One project I'm hoping to start soon is to convert my plastic bags into a bag I can use again and again.

I have a ton of plastic bags that I need to recycle. I'm going to try to reuse them as permanent bags first, and recycle the rest (to be done with plastic bags forever, hopefully!)

Krista said...

My Whole Foods bag didn't last very long. It seemed 'thread bare' after just a few months.

The bags I bought at Wal-Mart are holding up like champs! The $1 price tag is a bonus, too. I can't find canvas bags at the thrift store for that anymore.

Tristin said...

If you don't mind paying for a bag head over to http://wrapsacks.com/. Besides making great reusable bags to wrap presents in, they make wonderful totes (zip sacks). The totes fold up into themselves and zip shut, so they take up very little space. I love to keep one in the car glove box, for those unplanned times when you need a bag!
Zip Sacks are also a great size to keep one bungied to a bike, although I would recommend a bag that hangs off a rack for most bike based shopping trips. I have a grocery bag pannier from Jandd Mountaineering that works really well and can hold an amazing amount of groceries.