Just do it.
It’s the polite thing to do.
For the Earth.
I’m talking about bring-your-own-bag people! It’s 2015: I’d be shocked if you didn’t have a reusable bag sitting around your house, your car or your office – or a very nice friend who would give you one for the sake of me winning this virtual bet. On this #TransformationTuesday I encourage you to examine one of the simplest changes you can make in your daily life that does a lot of good and takes care of our planet.
Once you look around and see how many reusable bags you have accumulated from stores, events, freebies, or promotional events, you’ll be surprised and I bet you will have a whole set capable of bringing home those weekly groceries. You can even make your own bag out of a pillowcase – BOOM.
Put the bags in places you will remember to USE them: in your car (in sight), in your bike basket, in your backpack or purse–some designs fold into themselves, packing a useful little punch at the bottom of your purse, never to be left anywhere but your fingertips again. Some cities and towns are even catching on, passing bans on plastic bags. Despite some politicians’ best whining, these communities are making a positive mark on their environments and their consumers. When you use them at your store of choice, you might be pleasantly surprised by a 5 or 10 cent or more credit (per bag!) received. Since 2009, Target has offered this instant savings which has led to over 190 million reusable bags being used instead of paper or plastic! Other chains like Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods Market, Buffalo Exchange clothing store and many local grocers will also do you one better – BYOB and you get a token at checkout to deposit in your favorite charity bin on your way out the door. Some excellent funds are raised for local and national charities this way.
One of the best things about a cloth/vinyl/nylon bag is how much weight you can carry out the door and safely to your destination. Try this little test at home. Put a full gallon of milk, several canned items and another item of choice in a regular single-use plastic store bag (the thin kind). Now, put the same items in a cloth bag and feel the difference. Don’t let your bagger at the market be shy about filling those bad boys up, either!
Now I know some of you are out there saying: but I don’t use those plastic bags only one time and throw them out–they’re my garbage bags around the house or in my car, I pick up dog poop with mine, I use them for packing packages and padding my holiday ornaments. I say: right on, people! That IS what should be going on with those bags. But, I’m also betting that you have near a month-time if not more, supply of those of well. And even when you do use that bag a second or third time and put it in a waste receptacle after that, it’s that much more plastic going in the ground to probably never in our lifetime or children’s lifetime, actually breakdown and degrade…if it doesn’t escape , blow away American Beauty style and go here first.
Finally, don’t be shy about speaking up at checkout and preventing that well-meaning store clerk from bagging your single-to-I can still carry all those things in my hands to my next destination– item(s). They won’t be offended. Most clerks are on auto-pilot, scanning and bagging. Check it out the next time you buy a couple of items. One of my friends also takes the no-bag-please a step further by saying “because I don’t want it to end up in our ocean.” This is an influential statement to those around him in that store line, and as they are all island residents, it’s not hard to see his point and possibly change their mind at checkout and from then on. These bags blow away and settle in the waves across the world’s oceans at every moment. One less bag out there is win. Pete will like it too.