OK, so we’re going to start off simple. As I mentioned last week, when beginning your green transformation, it’s best to start with easy things. So let’s start with one of the easiest things to do – reusable bags! This was the first thing I did. If you are wondering why EVERYONE should have reusable bags, here are a few facts about plastic bags from ReusableBags.com:
- Each year, an estimated 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags are consumed worldwide. That comes out to over one million per minute. Billions end up as litter each year.
- According to the EPA, over 380 billion plastic bags, sacks and wraps are consumed in the U.S. each year.
- Environmental Impact
- Hundreds of thousands of sea turtles, whales and other marine mammals die every year from eating discarded plastic bags mistaken for food.
- Plastic bags don't biodegrade, they photodegrade - breaking down into smaller and smaller toxic bits contaminating soil and waterways and entering the food web when animals accidentally ingest.
There are also probably hundreds of fashionable and trendy bags you can purchase online. Check out websites like ReusableBags.com (lots of brands, $4 to $45), ChicoBags.com ($5 to $10 each), FlipandTumble.com ($6 to $12 each), GoodyGreenBag.com ($8.95 each) or simply do a web search! All of these are super cute! Target even has some cool ones. The first bags I ever bought were Chico Bags. I lucked out and was able to get them discounted through a co-op run on my online mommy board: The MamaSphere. They come in a bunch of great colors and fold up into themselves for easy travel. These days I use them for diapers and snacks when I’m out and about with the kids. Regular diaper bags don’t fit in my double-stroller. Plus the blue bag matches perfectly with the blue stroller! When I remember to, I also bring these into WalMart and Target. Notice I said remember to. This is one of my Green Goals for 2009, to bring reusable bags everywhere!
These days everyone is on a tighter budget, so maybe you really don’t want to spend any money on bags right now. Well hey, that’s OK too! Just bring whatever plastic bags you have in your house to the store instead. Keep reusing them until they start to break and than throw them in your recycling bin (most are recyclable these days, but check with your recycling company). While you’re doing this, then maybe you can buy one 99¢ bag a month to slowly build up your stock. After a few months you will be all set!
It is easy to forget your bags when you are running out the door, unfortunately I have done this quite a few times. So now after I empty them, I put them in the basement in front of the garage door so I walk by them every time I go shopping. I have not forgotten them since doing this. Even better would be to actually go and put them back in your car so they are always there. Now you just have to remember to bring them into a store!
I want you to go to your grocery store to see if they do sell their own reusable bags and find out if they have any kind of incentive like money back. If you find a store that gives incentives, then come back and tell us about it!
I want to hear from you!
If you already have some reusable bags, tell us what kind you have and how many. Or if you don’t have any yet but are buying some soon, tell me what you plan to buy. And if you have any ideas for how to use your bags or reuse plastic ones, share them here!