Sustainable Saturday – Ditch the Plastic Bag

Photo found on Instagram – I would love to credit the owner

Our 1st challenge is here!!! And it’s SO easy I’m shocked more people don’t do it. This week is all about swapping out those horrible plastic grocery bags for reusable ones!

Why are plastic grocery bags bad? Well, they don’t decompose, they can’t truly be recycled; instead they can be downcycled, where they’re broken down, mixed with new plastic materials and turned into new products; not to mention they end up in our oceans where sea turtles and other wildlife mistake them for food, which causes some disgusting and painful issues for these animals. These plastic shopping bags are also made from petroleum, which is a non renewable resource derived from oil and contains toxic chemicals that can affect our health, let alone what happens when they’re floating in our bodies of water. According to sciencing.com, Americans use one hundred billion plastic grocery bags every year. That’s 100,000,000,000 reasons to do better. 

If you’re ready to take on some change for the greater good, it’s time to gather up all those reusable bags you’ve collected throughout the years because NOW is the time to start using them. If they’re scattered all over your place, track them all down and do the following:
  1. Keep a fair amount (we have 4 nested together) near the door you use to go to your car, the bus, your bike, whatever; and ACTUALLY take them with you when you head to the store for your weekly shopping.
  2. Keep a couple backup bags in your significant other’s/friend’s/sibling’s/roommate’s/etc’s car (this may only be practical if you drive these other cars). This is so handy for random/spontaneous shopping!
  3. Put 1 in your purse/backpack/laptop bag, so you’ll always have one on you. Also handy and has saved me stress just this past weekend!
  4. Get into the habit of using reusable bags. In order to never forget mine, I keep them by the front door, grab them on the way out and load them into the car in the same spot as my purse. I definitely won’t forget to grab my purse, so as I reach for it and see my reusable bags, I’ll remember to grab them too.
  5. Once you remember them and you’re inside the store, don’t bury them in your cart. Keep them visible to you so you remember throw them on the belt at checkout, before you unload your groceries.
  6. BONUS! Some stores actually give you a discount for using reusable bags! Who doesn’t love saving money?!

Photo found on Instagram by @thomaspeschak

Don’t have any reusable bags? Try substituting pillow cases, or make your own from old t-shirts or other fabrics. Get creative! If none of these options work for you, you can try to (temporarily) switch to paper bags and be sure to recycle or compost them afterwards, until you get some reusable bags.

In the beginning you may try everything I suggested and still forget your reusable bags at home. That’s ok! Just keep trying. It took me a few trips before I could consciously remember them. And I still make mistakes here and there, but I’m human. I’m no expert, just a person trying to do her part to help Mother Earth. So don’t beat yourself up, just try again and again until it’s a real part of your routine. And let me know how it’s going for you! Are you already a die hard, practiced, rock star? Or have you never considered this? Do you have other tips I might’ve missed? I wanna know!

Sending you all the love!

~Stephani

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