I used to be known as the Bag Lady. And it was true, I never met a bag I didn’t like. My particular love was bags for work and travel – I was always on the prowl for the PERFECT bag – but then it spilled over to gift bags, grocery bags, department store bags, specialty bags, etc. Bags were good!
But no more. I’m not sure when the turning point came but I suddenly realized that the bags in my house, especially the plastic bags from the grocery store, threatened to take over. Or maybe it was when I found out that margarine was made from petroleum products – the same products used to make plastic bags. Yuck - what a great reason to go back to butter (surely Paula Deen knew this all along) – AND cut down on the number of barrels of oil purchased every year. This analogy might not hold up in an economics course but it works for me. Besides, the WorldWatch Institute’s report, Oceans in Peril, noted that “Disposable plastic bags can linger in the environment for more than 1,000 years” and are the major debris found on ocean seabeds, particularly in coastal areas. Head’s up for all you beach lovers out there.
It doesn’t help either that I am not a good grocery shopper. I don’t go once a week with a complete list like all the magazines say I should. Nope, it’s more like once a day, buying what we need to get us through dinner and into the next morning. Sometimes it’s just for cat food for Mac.
The drugstore is the same way. One tube of mascara, one bag. One pack of toothpaste, one bag. WHY????? I politely started saying NO, no thank you.
Then I went to my local Giant (locally owned and operated until just a few years ago).
The bags, a bit short and stubby, but a nice bright blue with white lettering, were sitting at the end of the check out lane. Ninety-nine cents and I wouldn’t have to throw anything away! I came home with three fabric bags, immensely proud of myself.
Next stop Trader Joe’s. Fabulous! Their bags are tall (all the better for baguettes), substantial and come in a variety of colorful patterns and scenes. Bag buyers could even register for a drawing for a free bag chocked with Trader Joe’s goodies – not bad for a 99 cent purchase.
Whole Foods (or as a friend of mine calls it, whole paycheck) offers a bag similar in style and size to Trader Joe’s along with a three/five/or even ten cent rebate each time you use the bag. They have also set a goal of being completely plastic bag free by April 22, 2008, Earth Day.
That committment alone will save 100, 000 million plastic bags from entering the environment. Whole Foods will continue to offer an environmentally sensitive option when needed, a 100 percent recycled paper grocery bag.
I haven’t checked out Safeway, Harris Teeter or Balducci’s yet (they just aren’t in close proximity) but will put it on my to-do list. I’d love to hear from any of you out there who have found other stores – grocery or otherwise – offering these specialty bags.
Buying the bags is easy and using them the first time is a proud moment. The hard part – REMEMBERING TO TAKE THEM INTO THE STORE EACH TIME! It’s just all part of the re-education process and I’m still in grade school.
Our guest author today is my spouse, manger and all round good friend.