Monday, March 31, 2008

Lazy Man's Green Living #1

I keep meaning to blog about this, I was thinking about blogging about this on the way home from the grocery store right now and then another friend blogged about it...


First, IKEA started charging for bags and then sold a big-ass reusable bag for about $1.50. It's like those awesome bags they have in the store that hold everything. We ended up buying two--one for each car. We may have 3 now. I'm not sure. They apparently came with a little Scandinavian elf who likes to hide them (Karlsson on the Roof, perhaps). But still, our first baby step.

We kept meaning to get some for the grocery store. Then we got a Central Market bag with a gift card inside it for Christmas--thanks! And we got another big reusable bag with presents in it--thanks! I love presents like that! Present=great! Packaging=great! (Blame it on my time in a freaking communist country where there was no packaging. Or things to put in packages.) Since we had the bags, we started to use them. Well, when we could remember them. We're better about it now that it's more of a habit. Also we have enough to leave 1 or 2 at home and still have some in the car.

We now have bags from:
* Central Market
* Kroger
* Target
* Garden Ridge? (Tim & Julie gave it to us)
* Walgreens

They're all fairly similar in terms of usability (the Target one is tiny, but it zips up into a little packet that you can put in your purse). Also, obviously, you can use the Kroger bag at CM and the Garden Ridge bag and Target and... It also seems like we have a lot, but we use them for all kinds of things and we always have some in rotation, so I don't feel like we've replaced a zillion one-time-use bags for a zillion multi-use bags. Still better, but you get the point.

Now that we're used to bringing them we really like them. There are some things you have to get used to, like waiting for the cashier to clear out the weight of the bags at the U-Scan. And sometimes baggers don't know what to do with them, but I figure that will get easier as more people use them.

Reasons I like reusable shopping bags (in no particular order):
* don't have to collect plastic bags for taking back to the store (i.e. junking up the house and wondering what would happen if you shoved them all into the trash)
* easy to slip over your shoulder so heavy bags don't cut your hands up
* milk jugs and frozen peas don't render them useless
* no need to double-bag
* bags hold more groceries--we'll fill a small cart at CM and leave with 2 bags in hand (or on shoulders) rather than 7
* bags are easier to carry up stairs because of handles that go over your shoulder--our kitchen is on our 2nd floor, so this is a big deal for us

Now, where can we find a bottle carrier? The cardboard ones at CM kill your hands and they're one-use only. We buy lots of bottled fizzy water. For now, we're using those plastic web things they put on your bottles at liquor stores.

And yes, I am glad that we're reducing waste. But I am also lazy. This is a perfect way for a lazy person to be green.


Loni said...

Yea! I think that these bags are a great idea and yet I am still asking for plastic bad-for-the-environment bags. Why? because I line the trash cans in the bathrooms with them and I use a ton of them at work. I average about 23 diaper changes every Tuesday and Thursday. We try to use only three or four plastic bags a day, but that's still a lot of bags.

And doesn't that sound terrible? Putting disposable diapers (that aren't really disposable) into plastic bags, that don't go anywhere either.

I am convinced (hopeful) that someone is going to figure out a great way to get rid of all the crap in our landfills without doing further damage to the environment. Or, Jesus will come back sooner rather than later and none of it will matter. One or the other. :)

Julie said...

Twin Liquors here has free reusable bags that have separate compartments for wine bottles. (Like a fabric 6 pack, essentially). We had one, but gave it to Caroline and Daniel. I'll try to get you one next time we go!

K in the Mirror said...

I love those bags. So far I only have Kroger and Walmart ones, and the Walmart ones suck. Plus the cashiers there are rude and roll their eyes at me when I ask to use them, and say things like, "Well, I have no place to put it and it's gonna take FOREVER, but I *guess* I can do it."

I just took 5 bags smashed full of bags to the recycle place in front of Kroger. I probably had 300 bags. And I do go through some lining trash cans and all that, but I'm trying to use less. :)

K in the Mirror said...

And oh! Homemade Gourmet has a new summer sampler that comes with a green market bag, veggie steamer bags, and side dish recipes for summer veggies. I can't wait to try it. I want to make some of that for your party. :) Then you'll have another bag.

Kate said...

Julie--that's awesome! Thanks! Where did you find the red bag you gave us?

Loni & K--I also use bags for poo. Dog poo in my case. I quit using them for liners because I'm lazy. And we use the real trash bags for the kitchen trash and raw chicken. Blech.

But less is less and that's good.

Oh, and K, do they have the circular things at your Wal-Marrr? Maybe that's what's throwing them. I had a similar experience at Target. It threw off their whole system. Just close your eyes and pretend that it is your regular bag. It's okay...

Tim said...

When we moved to our new neighborhood we started going to a new HEB where a lot more people use cloth bags, and it's amazing how well they bag. They build up walls and do a great job. So much better than the "you're gonna need about 50 more bags, so I can put each of these items in their own bag" baggers that we got at our old store a lot of the time.

Lainey-Paney said...

we use them too.
we got about 10 from Tom Thumb, and one from Walgreen's.
I try to use them for groceries every time!
Trust me on this one though: all meats will go into a plastic bag first.

...yes, red-dye meat juice leaked into & out of one of the bags onto the floor of my trunk. Gross.

The good news: you can wash & reuse the bag. The bad news: you can't exactly toss your trunk into the washing machine.

Tim said...

That's one of my biggest beefs with meat packaging. If you're going to package my meat seal the frickin' plastic so that meat juice can't get out. If I have to double-wrap the packaging then obviously it wasn't doing a very good job in the first place.