We started using reusable bags for grocery shopping back when it wasn't quite so posh. We're easily going on 3 years of reusable grocery bags. We've only thrown out one of our reusable bags when it mysteriously got a cut straight down the side (looked like from scissors or something). They say each reusable bag=4 plastic bags per visit. We usually use 4-5 reusable bags for a full shopping trip, each week. So let's do some math... 4 plastic bags per reusable *4 reusable bags per trip *52 trips a year *3 years = 2496 bags!! Throw in a few extra for trips that required 5 bags and smaller runs...we've saved over 2,500 plastic bags!! *pats self on back* lol I didn't realize how many we'd skipped bringing home over time.
Our local grocery stores have been really good about using our reusable shopping bags without batting an eye. They often have designs on their bags to promote buying them. My favorite is from a couple of springs ago...a pretty blue with a couple of green vines and not-too-girly flowers. Here's our method of using them:
- unload groceries
- stuff all bags into one (always pick the prettiest bag as the one that gets stuffed)
- place pretty, stuffed bag on door handle...the one I have to touch to go out to the car
- take bags to car the next time I go out
- bags chill in car until next shopping trip
- grab bags at store (handy "don't forget me" signs at our store helped at first)
- put bags at the front of the cart
- *TRY* not to bury bags while grocery shopping
- place bags on conveyor belt first...before unloading any groceries (this step has eliminated them asking "paper or plastic" and/or creates a laugh/smile when they ask out of habit while holding the reusable bags)
- take bags home and unload.....
So far most places have been very receptive to using the bags. Our grocery store, Publix, really encourages the use and we've heard rumors that they're going to start charging for plastic bags. Target offers $0.05 for each reusable bag you use :) Most cashier's are liberal with that, too. We bought a plastic bin (for storage) and just had the cashier load it up instead of using bags and she scanned the reusable bag coupon a bunch of times. I won an Envirosax from Sacred Bee and took it to Target. The cashier and I laughed as she stuffed it with $90 worth of stuff (I only paid $60...YAY coupons!). She took a few bags worth off for us, too.
The one negative experience we've had came at Wal-mart a couple of years ago. One disgruntled employee went on a rant about how the reusable bag thing would never catch on and it was stupid and just like some movement in the 70s that never took off and...seriously?? Just bag our stuff and shut up! You don't get paid to insult your customers!! But that was one
ridiculous bad experience in 3 years.
I'm trying to be better about taking bags to the mall or other shopping places (aside from Target and Publix). I'd say it's getting closer to 75% success rate of taking bags to other stores. I keep them all in the car...various sizes and shapes. I usually state I have a bag when they're ringing me up, or say I don't need a bag if I'm going to toss it in the diaper bag or stroller or whatever. If they look at me like I have 3 heads I make a joke. I usually make fun of myself, "yeah, I'm trying to be green" and kind of roll my eyes at myself. That usually gets them to laugh and turns the conversation to a positive light even if they weren't positive about it before.
So that's my story... Apparently we're in a forward area that is more accepting of reusable bags. What's your story? Don't forget to head over to Dirty Diaper Laundry and give Kim some love :)