Saturday, April 5, 2008

To Do List - The Plastic Bag Habit

I want to be free of the plastic bag habit. But, it's hard. It's retraining my weak, retail brain-washed self to re-think what I am doing. For so long this suburban mom has jumped in the van, drove like a mad woman to the closest Target to park, run in and grab the 2 things the kids MUST have for tomorrow's school project, baseball game, sleepover - fill in the blank here for today's crisis - needs and get home with just enough time to make dinner.

First, I need to stop the habit of needing things, but more on that later. But, as a close second I need to retrain my brain to think about the plastic bags. Oh, sure, I think about my bags for groceries when I head to Trader Joe's, I think about my Baggu totes (more on them later too!) when I head to Target. My entire plan was foiled last week when I had to make one additional stop at the sporting goods store for new track shoes and shoe laces for one of the boys.

I walked out of there with a.plastic.bag. A PLASTIC bag. I was so upset at that bag, I mean I was pouting about one plastic bag. I did reuse the bag for a kid's lunch the next week (my habitual lunchbox-forgetter got this one!) but still, I think about the one bag. So, here is a tip, Baggu Bags. I bought the 6-pack around the holidays, and kindly gave two to my sister and two to my mother (not even sure if they are using them - ahem!) and kept two for myself. Apparently two is not enough. Now - these bags aren't your fancy "I am not a plastic bag" designer glorified purses. These great little guys come with a pouch and fold up neatly into a square and really do fit in your purse. So - you will use them! When I bought mine - it was solid colors only, which was fine, the peacock blue and fuchsia are gorgeous! But, now they come in stripes. Of course, I am participating in the crazy Crunchy Chicken's "Buy Nothing Challenge" so I am making do without some new ones, but for those of you without some yummy reusable totes that are actually affordable - Baggu is for you! Seriously - six bags are a whopping $38 total. If you buy the striped ones, let me know, I would love to see what they actually look like in person!


Anonymous said...

Hi there. Congratulations on your new blog and the steps you are taking. My question about the bag: did you really need it in order to transport a pair of shoes and shoe laces to your car? And if so, could you have walked the bag back into the store and asked them to reuse it after bringing your purchases to the car? As soon as you realize that you are walking out of a store with a plastic bag, you have the opportunity to walk right back into the store with it!

It feels weird to do that at first. We worry about what others will think. But eventually the worry subsides. The only way change will come is if those of us who care will speak up. You might get funny looks, but the more of us out here spreading the word, the less strange it will become to others in our communities.

By the way, my site, Fake Plastic Fish, has many, many resources for learning to go plastic-free. Check out my list of plastic-free changes I've made to date:

Wishing you the best in your efforts!

eco 'burban mom said...

No - You are probably right, I didn't NEED the plastic bag to get the shoes and laces to the car. A bag is much, much easier to get the items to the car when you have 4 kids in tow. And, for some reason there is this stigma (a.k.a shoplifting!) here in the 'burbs when you walk out without a bag. Call it wierd, or just to many years of retail-brainwashing, but that bag habit is much harder to break than people think. I will tell you, I had to go back to the same store for yet another pair of shoes for yet another child and didn't forget my reuseable tote that time!

Gray Matters said...

Thanks for the bag review and link. I, too, am participating in Crunchy Chicken's challenge so they will have to wait until next month.

Kathryn B. said...

Ok, I have to jump in on this because I've been thinking on this topic and recently wrote about frugal green shopping bags.

I've more or less kicked the bag habit for several years now. You can do it too - I am cheering you on! I keep a stack of reusable bags in my car and one in my backpack at all times. About the bagless purchase/shoplifting anxiety, I used to have that too, but I no longer have that worry. For one thing, I don't look like a shady character that a store clerk is going to stop at the door (and I doubt that an eco 'burban mom does, either ;). Also, if I carry something out without a bag, I also carry the store receipt in very plain view in my hand, and I think that helps allay any of the store employees' concerns.