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Plastic Not So Fantastic

So, I was on the subway heading home last night after a lovely dinner with a friend and I see a girl standing next to me on the train with roughly 7 shopping bags. 3 were grocery bags, all doubled (so 6 bags in actuality) 1 was a large shopping bag that appeared almost empty. The remaining 3 bags were slightly larger than the size of the book I was reading containing small items. I looked at her is disbelief, why would she continually take bags from stores when she obviously already has a place for the items she’s purchasing. I recently bought mascara, when the lady behind the counter actually handed me a large black shiny bag with the mascara in it I laughed. I said, thank you but I think I can find room for this in my purse. I know that her job is to put customer’s purchases in a bag for them, I understand, but it was crazy to me that we haven’t come up with a better system. This paired with the girl on the train got me thinking I really do need to post some great alternatives to taking that paper or plastic.

To put it in perspective: Some Facts

*According to sources: 500 billion plastic bags are used a year, that’s 1 million per minute!
*Plastic bags are created with petroleum
*Plastic is NEVER biodegradable, it only breaks down into smaller parts, and releases toxic gases into the environment
*Up to 80% of the trash in the ocean is plastic bags

While in Paris Kevin and I noticed how in grocery stores, almost everybody brought their own bags or small carts. Plastic bags were tiny, fitting one or two items only, possibly to encourage the ‘bring your own’ habit. Ireland imposes a tax on plastic bags and from that tax has generated millions of dollars for environmental programs. In addition, 1 billion fewer bags (90% reduction) were used in just the 1st year alone.

In my house there is no shortage of canvas bags to go around, in fact I have been banned by my fiancĂ© from bringing home any more! But, if I were in the market I’d start with these:

*Envirosax: who makes bags out of materials such as bamboo, hemp and linen. They’ve got a great kids line, making shopping with the kids much more fun! Check out the site:

*Green-Kit: who makes cloth grocery/shopping bags that are just adorable! Check out the site: (click the cloth grocery bag link on the top)

*Reusable bags: which offer a variety of different type of bags, including the type I am longing for, those European string bags in all different colors! Hint hint Kevin. The site also carries SIGG water bottles, which I’ve posted about before, so if you haven’t gotten yours yet, this is a perfect time to get your reusable bag as well as your bottle! Check out their site:

Now that you have multiple choices for bags, you really have no excuse. I have a great one that literally folds down to the size of my cell phone, I take it with me always because you never know when you may want to duck into a shop or market for something.



nadia said...

Chico bags are incredible! My friend left hers at my house and I used it everyday and did not want to give it back. I just bought two more. I plan to buy one for everyone I know!

carolyn said...

I use the insulated Trader Joe's bags I bought when we lived in California. I keep them in the trunk of my car so I've always got them with me if I need to hit the grocery store. Now if I could just get the box boys to learn how to close the velcro top, I'd be so incredibly happy!