Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Paper or Plastic? I Say Neither!

The other day I splurged and made a big purchase: two canvas grocery shopping bags for $2.50 each. I had gotten so annoyed with the huge pile of plastic and paper grocery bags accumulating under my sink. I must have a stash under there that would last me for years to come but I just can't throw them away because I feel like that is such a waste. So after thinking about it for a while I took the plunge and made the $5 purchase.

Today I took them to the store (Trader Joe's) and was pleasantly surprised to learn that every time you bring your own bags to the store, whether they be bags from a previous trip or the canvas reusable ones that I had, they will enter your name into a monthly raffle for a $25 gift certificate. I'm crossing my fingers that I win.

So far, here are my advantages:

1) No more messy bags under my kitchen sink.
2) Chance to win free food.
3) Reducing waste and pollution.

I was doing a little research on the environmental effects of paper and plastic bags as opposed to using reusable bags and found this on the EPA website:

"* In New York City alone, one less grocery bag per person per year would reduce waste by five million pounds and save $250,000 in disposal costs.
* When one ton of paper bags is reused or recycled, three cubic meters of landfill space is saved and 13 - 17 trees are spared! In 1997, 955,000 tons of paper bags were used in the United States.
* When one ton of plastic bags is reused or recycled, the energy equivalent of 11 barrels of oil are saved.

Many grocery stores now offer for sale sturdy cloth grocery bags. Some of these stores even give you a little discount (e.g., five cents per bag) if you bring your own bag. So, keep a stash of reusable bags in your pantry or if you drive to the store simply keep them in your trunk."

Apparently, CostCo, Whole Foods and Ikea offer a $.05 to $.10 discounts per bag when you bring your own bags and of course Trader Joe's has the monthly raffle. Who knows, your local grocery store might have a discount too.

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Jerome said...

My mom is a plastic bag freakin psycho, i swear!!
She's always asking my dad and me if we got some plastic bags from our errands or shopping. My dad is so pissed off seeing plastic bags used for anything :as a garbage bin (without the bin of course), as a dirty laundry deposit, as a way to store make-up- shaving-scissors-medicine-clothes-old clothes,books, magazine ,tools , ANYTHING
I just can't fathom it anymore too
She would never buy any appropriate piece of furniture, NO, just plastic bags laying on the floor in every room of the house.
I wish plastic bags had never existed so hard.
And by the way, this is another big way to waste oil and pollute lands....
Seems like every way leads to pollution and the destruction of the planet, this is truly frightening when you come to think about it

the Prince of Thrift said...

excellent....I have a canvass bag in my car...but usually forget to tag in the store...especially when I picking a few things after I get off at the store.

btw the kids there don't seem to care about the waste and the bags that get pulled off and not used by one customer tends to get thrown away,,,what a waste not to mention the dollars going into the trash that could have gone to their payraises.

- Kevin S.
Becoming & Staying Debt Free 4ever

Vicki said...

Another advantage for me is that canvas bags are easier to carry than the plastic ones.

I walk to the store and it makes a big difference!

Henry said...

That's cool you can bring bags to the store with you. We can't do it where I live. Stores are afraid of shoplifting.

Tammy G said...

Love it. Love all your wonderful tips.

Madame X said...

But then what do you put your garbage in? I haven't bought a garbage bag in years because I just reuse the plastic ones from my groceries.

Debt Hater said...

I also reused plastic and paper bags from the store as trash bags... I don't buy trash bags either. Now THAT seems like a terrible waste! But, knowing that certain stores offering incentives to bring your own bags, I'll definitely reuse the plastic ones -- there's plenty. I've never run out of those things!

Tired of being broke said...

I do not buy garbage bags. Instead I reuse the plastic bags after I go grocery shopping. Am happy to see am not the only person with under the sink full of plastic bags.

WilliamHBarr said...

Hey I just bought these awesome bags called 'Joey Pouches' I use to use plastic, but these bags hold much more! check them out


Anna said...

Awesome post, a woman after my own heart! I'm working on a campaign called Bring Your Own, trying to encourage more people to do the same....next goal is to try and get a store - TJs, Wild Oats, etc. to get on board w/ promoting their own discounts. Some better signage, something!! Any ideas?

dm said...

The main supermarkets are just starting to charge you for plastic bags here in the UK. It can only be a good thing. Better for the environment & encourages us to reuse our bags that, as you put it are causing a mess under the kitchen sink! :)

Rob said...

Last October, in honor of Blog Action Day, I did a series of blog posts about plastic bags and the damage they're causing our environment. You might find my Plastics Wrap of some interest.

We've been waging war on these pesky devils for a couple of years now. We have a stash of Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, and assorted other canvas and recycled plastics shopping bags that we keep in the car and use whenever possible. I especially prefer using these at the grocery store because I can carry so much more in far fewer bags. Most of our bags are kind of gusseted at the bottom, so they hold bulky items nicely.

But what few plastic shopping bags we do end up with are mostly reused for trashcan liners. And we keep a couple handy in the car to use as "biohazard bags" for containing the odors and potential spillage from really messy diapers.

consolidation loan said...

That's great. If only they would do that where I live. Think I've got enought bags to open my own supermarket...