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.