Works for me Wednesday: BYOB (bags)

I’ve been trying to make little steps in becoming greener here on the homefront, thus the coffee mug on the side of my blog. I’ve been ruthless with myself on that–if I don’t have a travel mug with me, I don’t buy coffee when I’m out. I’ve taken to just keeping a clean one in the car, so that I can take advantage of things like McDonald’s free coffee Mondays.

But that’s not really what today’s post is about. Today I’m posting about bringing my own bags to the grocery store to cut down my use of those insane plastic shopping bags. Seriously, on a typically weekly shopping trip, I could easily come home with 10-15 bags.

Anyway,what works for me is to bring my own bags to the store. Many stores these days sell reusable shopping bags. I bought several from the store I frequent most, and store them in a larger tote bag. I also throw in two sturdy plastic bags for frozen foods. I keep these in my trunk so I have them whenever the shopping urge strikes. Here’s the thing–those big box stores just installed those stupid carousels that hold plastic bags so that the overworked cashier is now her own bagger as well. And reusable totes (even those sold by said big box store) don’t fit on those carousels. So in order to use my own bags, I have to be willing to work a little.

1) I arrange the order on the belt so that items can be scanned and bagged in the order they are on the belt (putting packaged goods on first, all the meat together, all the frozen stuff together, etc). I find it’s good to get behind a larger order so that I have a little time to organize.

2) I have all coupons ready to go so that I can hold the bags open for the cashier. It goes faster this way and it keeps the cashier in a good mood.

3) I don’t bag the bigger/heavier items–a tray of clementines, a pack of paper towels, gallons of milk, ets, just get stacked on the bottom of the cart.

All said, with a little practice, it’s not that big of a deal. And of course, at places like Aldi’s and Trader Joe’s, it’s a little easier than at a big box store.

The immediate pay off is that the big box I frequent gives you a 5 cent credit for each bag that you bring and use. Which is peanuts, but it’s like another 25-50 cent coupon, which I never sneeze at.

The bigger pay off? Few plastic bags get used, which is really the whole point.

4 Replies to “Works for me Wednesday: BYOB (bags)”

  1. I have been using my reusable bags too, but have avoided the big box stores (even though I love Super Target!) because I didn’t want to make a big deal and hold up the line. But ya know, I started thinking, the more I use my bags, the more other people might feel comfortable doing the same. So, you’re organizing tips will come in handy! I’ve also stood at the end and just bagged my stuff as the cashier passes it down…I’m not sure if this is a help for them or a hinderance. It’s meant to help. Any cashiers out there want to tell us what helps?!

  2. great post! come visit me for a chance to win a reusable bag from skeeda (and i’m giving away bhappybags later this week) — i’m all about green this week!!!

  3. I LOVE my new reusable bags. I bought a couple more this morning at big box store. (I have been trying to get a few each time to spread out the cost.) This morning they kind of rolled their eyes, but I don’t care. It is better for the environment and they are great for cans and jars!!

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