Reusable Grocery Bags

13Aug08

Best thing since sliced bread.

Those of you whose eyes just glazed over and went “yeah, yeah, I know…” – keep reading. This isn’t just about being socially conscious and green and stuff.

Granted, that’s a big part of it.

The number of grocery bags that I (used to) throw away on a regular basis was pretty staggering. I have two empty kleenex boxes full to bursting with extra plastic grocery bags, for when I need a dirty clothes bag for a trip, or who knows what else.

And still, the bags kept pouring in.

Oh sure, I’d read about reuseable grocery bags. But the ones offered at my grocery store were four dollars a pop, and ugly to boot.

My grandmother made me one out of a very sturdy corduroy material that I used for a long time – but it was only one bag. I almost always had to get more bags anyway. For a while, I tried bringing various bags that I had in a bin in my closet —

— okay, look. I have a problem. I have an addiction to containers. I ADORE containers. Bags, backpacks, boxes (egads, boxes). So yes. I have a plastic bin full of bags of varying sizes and types. I’ve done my level best to only keep different kinds – only one over the shoulder exercise bag, only one laptop backpack, only one regular backpack… I CAN QUIT WHENEVER I WANT, OKAY?

— but they were all different sizes and materials, and it was kind of a pain for the baggers to use. I know this because I am usually the bagger of my groceries.

And then a visit from The Mom led us to Trader Joe‘s – a community grocery store with lots of imported foods and shelves stocked with tons of foods I can’t get elsewhere. They had reusable grocery bags with neat designs printed on them.

The bags were an odd mesh material I’d never seen before, and a tag off to the side says “I used to be a soda bottle!”

They were $1 apiece, the perfect size for not-too-many-heavy groceries, have a wide, flat bottom, fold up teensy weensy so they can all be placed in one bag, and they are recycled, recyclable, and all around awesome.

I can carry one nearly-weightless bag with four bags folded up inside, pull out however many I need for my grocery carrying desires, and they stand by themselves, are easy to fill, and BEST OF ALL – they don’t hurt my hands.

You can’t tell me those plastic bag handles weren’t designed by evil men.

Should you carry the jug of milk by the handle and lose all feeling in your fingers by the time you reach your car (or in my case, my home, since I walk to the grocery store) or should you carry it in a plastic bag that will cut off circulation to your fingers and quite possibly break halfway to your destination, spilling canned goods and coffee beans across the parking lot?

OR. OR, should you use this bag, which is totally green and copacetic, and use the comfortable handles, which neither freeze nor pinch?

I daresay the question is no question at all.

So I’ve been converted, but I’m still picky. When looking for reusable grocery bags, check to make sure they stand completely on their own – if they flop or fail, they will be a pain to both fill and empty. Make sure they have a flat bottom that’s at least wide enough for a jug of milk to sit on. Make sure the handle straps are comfortable – if you are in a grocery store, go grab a jug of milk and test it. Does it bite into your hands? If so, it’s not worth it. Do they fold up neatly? Do they weigh very much on their own? How sturdy does the material appear? How much does it cost?

For a dollar a bag, the ones I got are a total steal. I bought four of them, and have yet to need more than that (of course, since I live so close to a grocery store, I go twice a week. Those of you with fewer trips will need more bags). I would highly recommend the Trader Joe bags, but for those who don’t have a Trader Joe’s nearby, I feel certain there should be SOMETHING comparable. The bags at the Piggly Wiggly where I shop lose on three of my vital criteria.

Save the earth! Get Reusable grocery bags!

Save your hands! Get Reusable grocery bags!

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3 Responses to “Reusable Grocery Bags”

  1. Agreed! Resuable grocery bags have some SERIOUS performance advantages to plastic beyond being good for the environment. It’s a two-fer!

  2. Ive only just started this (I know. I know.) but find that my daughter LOVED picking out which bag to bring etc which shall keepeth me motivated :)

  3. @FGB
    You ain’t kiddin!

    And what do I know that, “it’s a two-fer!” from. I feel like it’s a movie quote. *frowns and taps the side of her head* arg, that’s gonna bug me all day!

    @MizFit
    Oh! If you have even the slightest ability to sew (and hey, I didn’t let that stop me) you can also take your daughter to a fabric store, have her pick out a few fun patches, and personalize each bag even more! Nice thing about patches is some are iron-on, and most of them can be glued by those with the Fear Of The Needle.


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