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Old 03-25-2008, 04:18 PM
12 posts, read 14,510 times
Reputation: 12


I do plastic. However - I RECYCLE them.

I collect all plastic bags I get from the stores and take them to the recycling bin(s) located outside most grocery stores. This is a very convenient way for me to get rid of them since I go to the grocery several times a week. I have been doing this for quite a few years.

IMO - Paper bags are cumbersome and not very sturdy. I would - if used - recycle them. As for "bring your own", I would forget to bring them, they would have to be cleaned if used consistently, and I really just don't see how after all these years I could change my habits.

Do I have a good, bad, or a marginally acceptable approach to to being environmentally friendly? How many people really recycle their plastic?
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Old 03-25-2008, 06:22 PM
Location: Sometimes Maryland, sometimes NoVA. Depends on the day of the week
1,501 posts, read 11,753,766 times
Reputation: 1135
There was a nice article in the Washington Post about paper and plastic bags a couple months ago. One of the highlights is that plastic bags collected for recycling most likely are not being recycled, but instead shipped overseas and burnt. Here is the graphic (you may have to have a WP log in to see it): - washingtonpost.com

I use reusable bags whenever possible. Its still a matter of getting in the habit and keeping them in the car. If you can get in the habit of taking bags back to the store, you can get in the habit of bringing your own. If nothing else, take some of those bags you were about to put in the recycle bin and use them for the trip

I make my own bags, based on the gussetted plastic bag pattern. Here are 2 of them:
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Old 03-25-2008, 06:23 PM
Location: Central Texas
20,958 posts, read 45,410,702 times
Reputation: 24745
I've switched over to bring my own bags (suppose I should say switched back to them as I used to use them the last time this came around about 20-30 years ago). I keep them in the car where I can easily see them and am training myself (slowly, so slowly) not to forget.

When my kids were still at home I had to get paper bags periodically so that they could be recycled into various projects.

When I forget my take-it-yourself-bags, I generally get plastic and try to use them for other things. And, of course, meat is always wrapped in the plastic bags before putting them in the bring-your-own, for some reason.
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Old 03-25-2008, 07:35 PM
Location: Durham, NC
2,586 posts, read 9,104,547 times
Reputation: 1719
Bring my own bags. I recently bought 2 Granite Gear sil-nylon bags at REI that are awesome. They pack up small when not in use but unfurl to hold a lot of stuff/weight.

Any extra needed bags are plastic, which we'll either re-use for something or return to the store's recycle bin.
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Old 03-25-2008, 08:00 PM
392 posts, read 1,859,118 times
Reputation: 297
I always bring my own bags. I love them; they hold so much more than plastic grocery bags and are nice and sturdy, I can sling them over my shoulder and they stay upright when loaded instead of dumping my stuff all over the car.
I must buy clean food cause I have never had to clean them
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Old 03-25-2008, 08:35 PM
184 posts, read 1,544,948 times
Reputation: 196
Whole Foods sells wonderful, roomy, recycled-plastic bags for around $2, and then whenever you use them at checkout, they deduct 10 cents from your total for each own-bag used. So they actually pay for themselves in the end! The bags are not only attractive and lightweight, but also wipe clean easily (though honestly I've never had to yet, and I've had these for 6 months at least) and are about twice the size of the 'reusable' bags that most chain grocery stores sell.

I have two of them and keep them in my car at all times, because I use them for all shopping (not just groceries). If by chance I happen to buy more items than will fit in the bags (hard to do, since they're a very good size) and have to take some stuff home in plastic bags, I reuse those as liners for the small wastebaskets in my bathrooms.

I haven't seen a store offering a paper-bag option in at least a couple of years, now that all the plastic bags are recyclable.
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Old 03-25-2008, 08:57 PM
8,231 posts, read 17,321,103 times
Reputation: 3696
I bring my own, and I've gotten really good about it! I keep them in the trunk so they're good to go. I've also bought some little mesh bags that I'm using for produce. I've always hated the plastic bags...the sound bugs me. I do get paper bags occaisionally for recycling newspaper, and yes...the school projects!
ps, I also use my own bags at other stores, like Old Navy and Target. My house is whole lot less cluttered!
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Old 03-25-2008, 09:20 PM
Location: NJ
53 posts, read 214,924 times
Reputation: 56
I use my own cloth bags whenever I can. I sometimes forget to put them back in the car but I'm getting better about it since I leave them by the front door. I think most supermarkets now sell them, I got mine for a dollar each and they pay for themselves after about 10 uses.

We still do get paper in plastic on occasion, because we use them for garbage. But we used to have sooo many that they would be overflowing all the closets. Now we have just as many as we need.
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Old 03-26-2008, 07:23 AM
Location: Philaburbia
41,959 posts, read 75,205,836 times
Reputation: 66918
I bring my own cloth bags as well. I try to keep one or two in the car for unplanned trips, but don't always succeed in that endeavor.

What's really fun is re-using plastic bags at other stores. I love watching the cashiers' faces as they see the bags from their competitors. Heh.
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Old 03-26-2008, 07:30 AM
Location: Fort Mill, SC (Charlotte 'burb)
4,729 posts, read 19,430,380 times
Reputation: 1027
When I worked at Earth Fare (similar to Whole Foods) they gave all their employees a giant canvas bag. I used it all of the time. It holds the equivalent of what about 12 plastic bags will hold, so I just carry one bag into the house which is nice. If I buy meat, which is rare, it goes in a plastic bag. If I need other bags, I opt for paper most of the time, especially for lightweight boxed items. One paper bag holds about 6 times the volume of one plastic bag. I then reuse the paper bags to keep my newspapers, chipboard, and junk mail so I recycle all of them. The employees at the grocery store are always trying to sell me their canvas bags, but theirs are small. Earth Fare also donates 10 cents to local non-profit each time you bring your own bag (can be canvas bag or plastic/paper bags from other stores). I really hate it when I am in a store and cashiers want to give me a bag for one item.
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